400 railway stations to get airport-like facilities

The stations will have separate arrival and departure terminals, easy connectivity with local transportation  

Rail passengers may soon get to see airport-like facilities such as separate entry and exit points, connectivity with local transportation, pick up or drop off points and access to Internet at 400 stations across the country.

The Ministry of Railways has identified 15 key parameters on which the 400 railway stations will be redeveloped with “world-class” facilities. The government plans to invite bids from private developers by March-end, sources at the Ministry of Railways said.

The stations will have separate arrival and departure terminals, easy connectivity with local transportation such as bus or metro and will be accessible from both sides of the city.

Parcel movement across the platforms will be restricted and facilities such as food courts, retail outlets and medical facilities will be provided at the railway stations. Helipads near railway stations may also be built.

Many big private developers such as the GMR Group, Tata Realty, Larsen & Tourbo and realty developers body Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) have shown interest in developing the railway stations, a government official said.

“We want to focus on passenger convenience. The railway stations should have seamless connectivity. Not only this, the developer will also have to take care of the traffic circulation around the stations,” said an official.

The government plans to adopt the ‘Swiss Challenge’ mode to invite bids for redeveloping the stations. First, the government will invite developers to submit their master plans.

After evaluating the proposals, the selected design will be uploaded over the Ministry of Railways website. Financial bids will be invited and the developer quoting the highest upfront premium to be paid to the government will win the bid. However, the project developer, who had originally submitted the plan, will be given an opportunity to match the bid amount.

It will take around six-eight months to complete the entire bidding process, another official said. The proposals will first be examined by standing committees formed by the Ministry of Railways followed by a committee of experts.

The developer should have prior experience in the field of passenger transportation such as railway stations, airports or ports or construction experience in the core sector.

The railway stations will be built on ‘design, build, finance, operate and transfer’ model and the developer will meet the entire cost of redevelopment by commercial development of land and air space in and around station which will be leased for a period of 45 years. Also, the onus of securing approvals such as environment clearance, heritage clearance, archaeological clearance and others will be on the developers.