Railways To Levy User Fee On Stations Without Cabinet Approval

by Arun Kumar Das - Oct 7, 2021 10:34 AM +05:30 IST
Railways To Levy User Fee On Stations Without Cabinet ApprovalIndian Railways. (Representative Image)
Snapshot
  • A notification to levy user fee on stations is likely to be issued shortly clearing the way for an assured income for private players interested in the station redevelopment project.

Indian Railways, which was awaiting the cabinet approval for levying user fee on stations, will now go ahead with the scheme of its own as the Cabinet has returned the proposal to the public transporter.

It is learnt that the proposal to levy user fee on stations sent to the cabinet for its approval has been returned to the railways and as a result the public transporter is to chart out its own course.

According to the railways, a notification to levy user fee on stations is likely to be issued shortly clearing the way for an assured income for private players interested in the station redevelopment project.

Once the user fee is levied, the train fare would go up. If a passenger books a ticket from New Delhi to Patna then the ticket price would include user fee of both stations. But if a passenger booked a ticket from a smaller station to New Delhi then user fee would be just half the total levy.

The move is expected to attract private players keen on participating in the station redevelopment project, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

While the user fee is to be levied in phases beginning with major stations including Delhi and Mumbai, the scheme is slated to cover about 400 stations in the country.

The user fee would be in five categories ranging between Rs 10 and Rs 50 with higher for AC First Class and subsequently less for AC-2, AC-3, Sleeper and unreserved class.

Unlike airports, the station user fee would not be the same for all classes of passengers.

The station redevelopment plan envisages upgradation of passenger amenities with the involvement of private players.

According to the plan indicated by NITI Aayog, the target is Rs 76,250 crore from station redevelopment. Since railway stations are generally located in prime locations having high commercial value.

However, it is being considered that these assets are under-utilised. The New Delhi Railway Station Redevelopment programme is one such project, which will generate substantial employment and transform the station into a world-class facility.

According to the NITI Aayog, the total plan involving station redevelopment envisages an expenditure of Rs 17,000 crore in financial year 2022 (FY22), Rs 29,325 crore in FY 23, Rs 17,575 crore in FY24 and Rs 12,350 crore in FY25.

Different stations will have varied levels of revenue potential. Capital investment for each station would need to be meticulously derived, considering the project feasibility and maximum pay-outs to the government.

To finalise the model Concession Agreement for the development of railway stations through the public-private partnership (PPP) model, the Ministry of Indian Railways (RLDA) along with the Indian Railways Station Development Corporation Limited are holding consultation meetings with all the stakeholders.

According to the railways, the user fee would be levied on 50 stations in the first stage to be followed for more stations in phase wise.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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