The Indian Railways, under its massive station redevelopment programme, is set to offer more than 144 acres of land with its 23 stations for commercial development. The developers would be selected via competitive bidding, marking the first phase of the scheme under which surplus/vacant land with over 400 stations are to be redeveloped. As many as 18 of the 23 projects will come go under the hammer in the current financial year. “The tenders will be opened gradually over July onwards which will be finalised by April-May 2018,” said a railway official requesting not to be named.
While there are some stations that will offer as little as 1.6 acres (Chennai Central) for commercial redevelopment, there are others including Yesvantpur (20 acres), Udaipur City (10.7 acres) and Howrah (10 acres) that will offer huge plots for commercial use. Large infrastructure companies such as Tata Realty and Infrastructure, GMR, Essel Infra, IL&FS and a few Malaysian companies are actively looking to participate in the programme and some of them are already working on-ground to prepare bids. Last week, the secretary general (works), government of Malaysia, Dato Sri Zohari Haji Akob — who is also the nodal officer for projects investment in India — led a delegation along with the Malaysian high commissioner in India and held a meeting with railway officials regarding station redevelopment.
The meeting was to reinforce the commitment of the government of Malaysia to ensure a visible participation of experienced Malaysian developers in railway station redevelopment projects to enhance bilateral trade and stronger cooperation on both sides for sustainable infrastructure development.
According to the official quoted above, all 25 tenders (23 being planned plus Anand Vihar and Brijwasan which have been delayed due to land issues), would be opened by September. While work on the Habibganj and Gandhinagar projects has already started, the Indian Railways awarded the contract for Jammu Tawi railway station last week and that for Kozhikode has been just awarded. In addition, the request for proposal for Surat railway station is expected to be floated within a week.
In terms of stations that will be redeveloped, a total of 2,700 acre will be reconstructed for the 400 stations that have been identified and more than 200 acres will be redeveloped in the first phase comprising 23 stations. Under the scheme, a developer needs to create a concept proposal which takes six-eight weeks and an investment of Rs 1.5-2 crore.
For stations receiving multiple bids, one will be chosen taking into account technical as well financial proposals under the Swiss challenge method. There are two railway committees which will evaluate proposals which will be evaluated on a scale of 100. Separately, an independent committee will look at the scores given to each proposal. Subsequently, the general managers of the zone concerned will look at the recommendations of all the three committees and select one concept for DPR purpose.
“Even if no developers comes in at the challenge stage, the railways will be at least be assured of the premium mentioned in the DPR,” added the official. The railways is expecting that the total cost of commercial development for 400 stations will be Rs 68,000 crore while that for station redevelopment will be Rs 28,000 crore, and in addition it is likely to get Rs 11,000 crore as premium.