New Delhi: Railways on Thursday launched an ambitious Rs 450-crore redevelopment project at Habibganj station near Bhopal through PPP route with a dual aim of providing world-class amenities for passengers and generating revenue for the public transporter.
"Till now, Railways was depending on passenger and freight earnings. But time has come now to look beyond fare revenue. Station redevelopment is one such revenue stream," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here at an event to mark the signing agreement with the developer for the project.
A consortium of Bansal Construction Works and Prakash Asphalting and Toll Highways has formed a special purpose company - Bansal Pathways Habibagnj Private Ltd to implement the project.
As per the agreement signed between the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) and the developer, the latter will provide modern amenities like escalators, lifts, parking lot, landscaping, concourse, walkway, travelators, parcel corridor, subways as part of the redevelopment of the station.
Besides, the station will also have food plaza, medical clinics, office complex, salon and other facilities to use the area to generate revenue for railways.
Prabhu said 400 stations will be redeveloped as per the plan and there is a purpose behind it. He said besides being another revenue stream for railways, station development will also provide better facilities to passengers.
Apart from Habibganj, IRSDC will also develop Chandigarh, Surat, Shivaji Nagar, Brijwasan, Anand Vihar, Mohali and Gandhinagar stations.
He said there are various ways including taking help of the World Bank, foreign countries, state governments and PSUs for modernisation of stations.
"We are negotiating with World Bank for getting USD 500 million for station development project. We can also join hands with counties like Germany, UK and France which have expertise in redevelopment to modernise a few stations here. I am also writing to all chief ministers to be part of the redevelopment project in their respective states.
"Gujarat government has come forward for redevelopment of Surat and Gandhinagar stations. We are also exploring to involve PSU like NBCC to develop a few stations," he said.
Though the project is expected to be completed in three years, Prabhu asked the developer to "take up the project as a challenge and complete within two years".