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1 Feb, 2012

India Embarks on Massive Railway Stations Upgrade Project

New Delhi, Feb 1, 2012 (Press Information Bureau) – The Ministry of Railways has moved to set up a separate corporate unit to upgrade and improve the country’s thousands of railway stations. In what was described as a “path-breaking initiative,” the Ministry signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be called “Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited” to handle the job.

The MoU was signed between the two public sector units of the Ministry of Railways, namely Ircon International Limited (IRCON) and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA). No financial details were disclosed.

The Minister of Railways, Mr. Dinesh Trivedi, said that this initiative is a part of the Vision 2020 document presented by the then Minister for Railways, Mamata Bannerjee. The documents provided a comprehensive road map for the development of all aspects of railway operations from safety, infrastructure, passenger amenities to modernization of the stations.

He said that it is imperative for India to have modern stations that are functional, customer oriented and well equipped with proper circulation area and railway operation facilities. The Ministry of Railways has written to the State Governments and the local bodies to improve the areas surrounding stations and the approach roads to the stations. He stressed that the new entity is fully part of the Ministry of Railways and all the properties and assets will remain with the Railways and there is no question of privatization in the matter.

Chairman of the Railway Board, Mr. Vinay Mittal said that it is a path breaking initiative which will be a game changer in providing effective passenger friendly stations.

The new entity will help Railway stations develop as vibrant centres of the life of cities for commerce, entertainment and social space. The Vision 2020 document had acknowledged that India’s railway stations are far behind those in the advanced countries and the stations located in major metropolitan cities are ill-equipped to handle growing passenger traffic.

The new SPV will provide the identified stations with well designed concourses, high quality waiting spaces, easy access to the platforms, congestion free platforms, modern ‘State of the art’ Catering facilities, Hotels and other facilities. The stations would be disabled passenger friendly and have provision for convenient entry, inter platform transfer and easy access for physically disabled persons and senior citizens. They would also be provided with proper waste disposal facilities to improve hygiene and cleanliness.

The railways also propose to involve the State Governments and City Administrations for the development of the stations and surrounding areas in an integrated and holistic manner. City authorities and other stakeholders would also be taken on board to facilitate timely implementation of projects and boost traffic flows to and from the stations.

The proposed SPV will take up provision of the above amenities in a cost neutral manner by utilizing the real estate potential of the stations. Major redevelopment of busy stations without hindering the normal operational and technical working poses a special challenge.