After a two-year hiatus, the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) has finally decided to appoint a consultant for transforming Kozhikode railway station into international standards.
This was disclosed by Kozhikode MP, M.K. Raghavan, who met RLDA vice chairman Ved Parkash Dudeja at his office in New Delhi. The consultant would be appointed before March 30, he said.
The development comes after the Ministry of Railways decided to task the RLDA with the development of the Kozhikode station. An official team led by Mr. Dudeja would also visit Kozhikode by April, Mr. Raghavan said.
The ₹75-crore project to develop the Kozhikode railway station was almost kept in abeyance following the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and then again the COVID-19-induced lockdown last year.
The Ministry of Railways had chosen Kozhikode among the 23 stations in the country and the only one in the State to be redeveloped under the Swiss Challenge Method nine years ago. This was based on the suggestion by the Boston Consultancy Group.
The proposal was to develop the station with world-class facilities and lease out the four sites, measuring 4.4 acres to a successful bidder for 45 years.
However, the project had remained on paper ever since the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society, the only bidder, proposed to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the first phase in July 2018.
The first phase itself has gone through multiple stages such as securing the approval of the Standing Technical Committee and Standing Finance Committee before obtaining the nod for preparing the DPR.
Despite reminders and political pressures, the project could not go beyond the second and final stages of the Swiss Challenge Method. This was because the DPR was not released.
Even if the DPR is released, it has to again go through the process of bid submission, evaluation for the highest premium and development selection.
Incidentally, the union affiliated to the CPI(M) was against handing over the project to private stakeholders for development. However, now the project is back on the rails.