Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday assured of better passenger amenities and improved railway earnings, while launching the bidding process for the ambitious railway stations redevelopment program (SRP) online. Twenty-three stations across the country are to be turned into world class railway stations in the first phase, which includes Ranchi..
The railway stations’ makeover project is also aimed at generating revenue from non-traffic sector by providing better and hassle free passenger facilities, besides safety net to railway users. The changes will be in place within four to five years time under the PPP mode.
Among the salient features of the project are: encroachment free land with clear title deeds for expansion of railway facilities, 100% FDI, 45 years lease period for private parties partnering the railways, bidding by consortium and transparent and objective selection process.
The world class stations will have separate arrival and departure terminals like in airports and well connected through elevated approach roads.
They will also be equipped with efficient fire fighting system, ambulance, CCTV surveillance, Wi-Fi service, food courts and eateries, shops, internet facility, cab services, digital signage, escalators/elevators, self ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walk ways etc. Launching the SRP online from the railway board headquarters Prabhu said, “It is a multi-pronged initiative for a transparent and robust process to inspire public confidence with a total investment of about Rs 1 lakh crore.”
“The developers will have an opportunity to prove their mettle and showcase innovation even as it opens new vistas to railways to maximize earnings, while passengers and railway users will find plenty of reasons to smile,” Prabhu said.
“There are 23 millions railway users in the country and the railways wants to tap them as consumers, providing them wide options of buying and spending on variety of items and services at the world class stations”, Prabhu said, adding that people will find the stations to be more user friendly meeting points.
He said smart stations are prerequisites to smart cities, while mentioning that the railways have tied up with the urban development ministry for the SRP.”The station premises will have clean energy and save Rs 41,000 crore annually through energy conservation,” he said.
Ranchi is among the 23 railway stations to be turned into world class standards in the first phase. Divided in two categories - Iconic and Premier, the cost of construction will come to Rs 7,000 to Rs 12,000 per square feet in iconic category and Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 in premier category. Ranchi station will be in the premier category.
The other stations are: Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Thane, Pune, Vishakapatnam, Howrah, Kanpur Central, Allahabad, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Udaipur City, Secunderabad, Vijaywada, Chennai Central, Kozhikode, Yeshwanttpur, Bangalore Cantonment, Bhopal, Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Borivili and Indore.
The Indian Railway will extend its SRP by bidding out 100 stations by June and 250 more by December 2017 in the second phase and third phase.
Ranchi DRM SK Agarwal, Dhanbad DRM MK Akhauri and other railway officials were present at Ranchi divisional office during the launch.