Chennai

Central station makeover hits a bump

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Bidders have sought time to analyse documents; private developer will take over maintenance

The mega plan of the Indian Railways to develop the Chennai Central station to meet international standards has suffered a delay with the prospective developers seeking time to participate in the bid process. Chennai Central is among the 23 stations that will be ‘privatised’ as part of redevelopment under the BFOT (Build, Finance, Operate, Transfer) scheme.

The tender bid, which was to be opened on May 22, has been postponed citing technical reasons. A.K. Sinha, Chief Planning and Development Engineer, said the applicants had sought time to ‘analyse’ the comprehensive bid documents.

Kozhikode railway station in the Palghat division is also among the 23 stations. The bidding process for Kozhikode too has been postponed.

The redevelopment plan received a lot of attention with Southern Railway conducting a pre-bid meeting with prospective bidders in which eight developers had participated.

Mr. Sinha said the redevelopment project has been carried out in a thoroughly professional manner with a few multi-national realty consulting groups involved in drawing up the project report and the bidding process.

At Chennai Central, the developer will be permitted to carry out commercial development of air space at the station premises and a portion of vacant space called ‘Reserved Railway Land’ would be allotted to ‘enhance’ the real estate potential of the station development.

The redevelopment plan, involves Southern Railway concentrating on operational and concurrent activities, while the private developer will carry out maintenance and commercial activities.

Mr. Sinha said the developer could reconstruct the entire premises, except for the ‘heritage’ façade of the station in the front and the ground floor, which has a platform area of 51,182 square metres. Many more passengers amenities are likely to be provided A 1.545-acre plot of land adjacent to the Moore Market Suburban complex would be allotted to the developer for commercial exploitation, he added.

According to the bid documents, the developer would have to maintain the station premises for 15 years, while the lease period of the additional land and aerial space to be exploited by the developer would be for 45 years.

Operational space

The developer is also mandated to provide necessary space for operational purposes, which includes the station master’s room, passenger information centre, movement control room, Railway Protection Force (RPF) control room containing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, Government Railway Police (GRP) station, Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) chart room, which comes to a total of 2,873.76 sq. m, he said.

In the next stage, 48 stations would be taken up for redevelopment. Among these, Egmore, Coimbatore, and Thiruvananthapuram, have been identified from the southern region.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:13:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/central-station-makeover-hits-a-bump/article18959259.ece

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