In a bid to modernise railways in India, the union cabinet gave its nod for commercial development of space in and around stations, reported Business Standard.
The Cabinet also decided to provide a long lease tenure of upto 99 years from 45 years. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that, Indian Railway Stations Development Corp Ltd (IRSDC) would be the nodal agency for developing railway stations across the country.
The decision will not only be good news for commuters in general, but also for Indian Railways that is plagued with unused and under-used properties.
The station development is planned by leveraging the commercial development of land and airspace in and around the station.
The development program is touted to provide state-of-the-art amenities for passengers, generate additional revenues to Ministry of Railways over a basket of stations. Redevelopment of railway stations across the country would improve economic growth and help to create more employment opportunities.
Being the nodal agency IRSDC is entrusted to prepare the overall strategic and business plans for individual or a group of stations. Upon approval of business plans by the Ministry of Railways, IRSDC or other project development agencies would take up the work of station redevelopment.
Railway/Rail Land Development Authority/IRSDC would work in tandem with urban local bodies, DDA or other Union Territories to transfer land on a freehold basis to the Railways. The Ministry of Railways could then accelerate the redevelopment of major stations across the country on an overall cost-neutral basis.
"Railway passengers and Industry shall be benefited at large. Passengers will now get amenities at par with international railway terminals, and a large number of local job creation is expected as a positive external outcome of this program," said the minister.
A Cabinet approval was obtained on 24 June, 2015, to redevelop 'A1' and 'A' category stations by Zonal Railways through Cabinet approved procedures and for a lease period of 45 years. However, insufficient interest was visible amongst the prospective bidders.
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