Railways authorities are planning to earn revenue by commercially exploiting railway stations at prime locations.
According to the proposed plan, the existing stations would be upgraded to have commercial offices, shops and restaurants. The plan to exploit stations commercially came up during a meeting between KH Muniyappa, minister of state for Railways and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan in June. They have identified five stations at Marine Lines, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri and Borivli, which could undergo a revamp.
“We are planning to appoint financial consultants to come up with the ideal model for us to generate revenue,” said a senior Western Railway official on condition of anonymity. The consultants will decide on a revenue-sharing mechanism most viable for the success of commercially operating station buildings after giving it on lease.
The railways and the state government are currently having differences over the revenue-sharing pattern. While, the state government is keen on getting 50% of the share, the railways wants a larger share because the stations will be constructed on railway land. Railway officials also claim that the state wants to consider the money received from the commercial establishments as their contribution for future rail projects.
From its end, the state government is willing to offer a higher Floor Space Index (FSI) — wherein additional space would be allotted for construction on existing land – depending on the railway station and its nature. “The consultant will also have to think about the possible premium that would have to be paid to provide water supply and sewage systems by the municipal corporation,” said the official.
Sources in the state government said the FSI would depend on factors such as road traffic outside railway stations and the heritage value of the station. Without higher FSI, however, it would be impossible to revamp the stations, the sources added.
“We have not decided on the exact FSI that would be required,” said TC Benjamin, principal secretary, urban development department.