500 railway stations, adjoining areas to be redeveloped on Smart City lines
With the idea that there can’t be a smart city without a smart railway station, the Ministry of Urban Development and the Ministry of Railways on Wednesday signed an MoU under which 500 railway stations and adjoining areas will be redeveloped on smart city lines for enhancing passenger amenities, easy access to stations, enabling optimal utilisation of land at railway stations.
“This convergence based city development will result in qualitative improvement in city life,” Union Urban Development Minister said in a statement. He also suggested that to begin with 10 cities could be taken up for the proposed redevelopment with the involvement of public sector construction company NBCC (India) Ltd.
These cities are Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Varanasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Margao(Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry. “Redevelopment work of Habibganj railway station has already been awarded and plans for Anand Vihar (Delhi), Surat, Bijwasan and Gandhinagar are in advanced stage,” Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
Several countries such as Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, the UK and Belgium have showed interest in redevelopment and a round-table of domestic and overseas bankers will be organised next week to discuss financing of these redevelopment projects, Prabhu added.
To be implemented first in the 100 cities included in the Smart City Mission, redevelopment of railway stations will be undertaken in Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and Heritage Infrastructure Development and Augmentation Yojana cities extending the scope of the MoU to over 500 cities, the statement added.
The MoU proposes two joint venture options for speedy redevelopment of railway station centred areas. The first being between the Railways and the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for execution of Smart City Plans, with equal share in equity. In the second model, NBCC can be roped in with equal share among the three. NBCC can design, develop and execute the redevelopment plans on self-financing basis.