Railway authorities are expecting revenue of around Rs600 crore through commercial exploitation of around 20 acres of open land at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT).
Sources said this was the Railways’ Plan B in its effort to hasten the ambitious project of developing CST as a world-class station that has been stuck in a heritage tangle for the past three years.
Although it was announced in the railway budget of 2009-10, the development of CST, tagged as a world heritage site, as a world-class station, failed to take off as UNESCO turned down the Railways’ plea to rationalise the buffer zone around CST. A few months ago, it had asked railway authorities to carry out a heritage impact study. Concerned about the future of the project, authorities started exploring other avenues to fund the project.
The Railways had first planned commercial development of its land at Carnac Bunder, to generate revenue for the CST project. Now, authorities are mulling the commercial exploitation of land at LTT. At Carnac Bunder, authorities were planning budget hotels, malls, multi-storey parking and food courts. A top CR official said, “Our estimate is that through commercial development at LTT, we can generate at least Rs600 crore in revenue.”
The ‘Railway Land Development Authority’ (RLDA), the apex body that decides about commercial exploitation of railway land, is now going to study the actual valuation of land through consultants. Pankaj Jain, vice chairman of RLDA, was in town recently to explore the possibility of commercial development of land at LTT, Thane and Haji Bunder.
Jain inspected Thane station and discussed with CR general manager, Subodh Jain, various issues related to the commercial development of railway land.
“At Thane station we have planned to develop a multi-functional station with various passenger amenities such as dormitories, waiting rooms and food courts,” Subodh Jain said.
Subodh Jain also said they had asked RLDA to appoint a consultant to study what could be done to develop railway land at Haji Bunder, where the Railways have another huge piece of land.