The decks have finally been cleared for the Railways’ ambitious proposal: to modernise New Delhi and 20 other destinations into world-class railway stations, with the Committee on Infrastructure set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh granting its approval to the scheme on Friday.
Work will soon begin on the project for New Delhi station that is to be redeveloped on the lines of railway stations in western countries at an estimated cost of Rs 5,000 crore.
“We will make New Delhi station better than an airport. The Railway Ministry has received bids from six international consultants for preparing the architectural design of the new station. We will begin work within a week with the selection of a consultant,” Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav announced after a meeting of the Committee on Infrastructure at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The project would be taken up on an urgent basis as it is to be finished well in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi, the minister said.
The station will be redeveloped under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode where bids will be invited from top building and construction companies to undertake the project spread over 80 hectares. The Railways will lease out its prime land to the company on a long-term basis.
The builder will finance the project and will be allowed to recover his investment by the commercial use of the property by constructing hotels, restaurants and shopping complexes.
According to Lalu, the ultramodern design railway station will have all passenger amenities and conveniences that he saw while visiting trains stations in European countries.
Separate arrival and departure terminals, plush waiting areas, rest rooms , eateries and shops will be other features of the new-look station, he said.
The other 20 stations are Agra, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Anand Vihar (Delhi), Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Bijwasan (Delhi), Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai CST, Howrah, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mathura, Patna, Pune, Secunderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi.