- Urban Development and Railway ministries sign MoU to develop smart railway stations.
- Project will ease access to stations, improve passenger amenities and optimise utilisation of land around stations.
- 10 cities have been selected for initial redevelopment. Scheme will cover all smart cities and then be extended to AMRUT and HRIDAY cities.
DELHI: First you had smart cities, now get ready for the same treatment to be given to railway stations and adjoining areas. The ministry of urban development and railways have signed an agreement to redevelop railway stations and nearby lands under the smart city development plan.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the minister of urban development Venkaiah Naidu and the minister of railways Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday, to redevelop railway stations and the areas surrounding it under the area-based development model in the Smart City mission. Planned features include easier access to stations, better amenities for passengers and better utilization of land through commercial and residential development.
The initiative will first be implemented in the 100 smart cities selected under the smart city challenge, before being extend to the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) mission and the Heritage Infrastructure Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY). This effectively allows the MoU to cover over 500 cities.
Two models are being considered for the redevelopment of these railway stations. Under the first model, the railways will sign a MoU with a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to finance, design and develop these projects. Under the second option, the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) may be brought in as a third partner with responsibility for the project being divided equally among the three agencies.
10 cities including Tirupati, Thane, Margao, Kota, Jaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar, Sarai Rohilla and Puducherry have been chosen for the initial implementation of the project. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu stated that redevelopment work of the Habibganj railway station has already been awarded and plans for Anand Vihar (Delhi), Surat, Bijwasan and Gandhinagar are at an advanced stage.
Several countries like Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, UK and Belgium have showed interest in the redevelopment project and a round table of domestic and overseas bankers will be organized next week to discuss its financing.