In a path breaking initiative taken by the Ministry of Railways, a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed today for setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) namely “Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited” to take up work of redevelopment of railway stations along with station maintenance across India in a dedicated manner as a part of the continuous process of augmenting and improving amenities at the railway stations.
The MoU was signed today between the two PSUs of the Ministry of Railways, namely Ircon International Limited (IRCON) and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) for formation of this new SPV. The MoU was signed in the presence of the Minister of Railways, Shri Dinesh Trivedi, the Minister of State for Railways, Shri K. H. Muniyappa and Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Vinay Mittal, other Board Members and senior Railway Officials. The signatories to the MoU were Vice Chairman, RLDA, Shri Pankaj Jain and Managing Director, IRCON, Shri Mohan Tiwari.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Trivedi said that this initiative is a part of the Vision 2020 document which was presented by the then Minister for Railways, Mamata Bannerjee. Shri Trivedi said that the Vision documents provided comprehensive road map for the development of all aspects of railway operations from safety, infrastructure, passenger amenities to modernization. The Railway Minister pointed out that with today’s initiative of creating a dedicated institution for modernization of stations, one more significant step has been taken up to implement objectives of the Vision 2020.
Shri Trivedi said that it is imperative to have modern stations which would be very functional, customer oriented and well equipped with proper circulation area and railway operation facilities. He said that the Ministry of Railways has sent letters to the State Governments and the local bodies to improve the areas surrounding stations and the approach roads to the stations. The Minister emphasized that the new entity is fully part of the Ministry of Railways and all the property and asset will, therefore, remain with the Railways and there is no question of privatization in the matter.
In his speech, the Minister of State for Railways, Shri K. H. Muniyappa said that the move to form this new Corporation will be a milestone in modernizing stations so that better passenger amenities are made available and the operations of trains become smoother. In his speech, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Vinay Mittal said that it is a path breaking initiative which will be a game changer in providing effective passenger friendly stations. Member Engineering, Shri A. P. Mishra outlined the objectives of the new Corporation.
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 the stations on Indian Railways 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 proposes to address these issues. Under new SPV, it is proposed to 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 redeveloped stations would be disabled passenger friendly and would have provision for convenient entry, inter platform transfer and easy access to all the facilities for the physically disabled persons and senior citizens. The stations would also be provided with waste disposal facilities to improve hygiene and cleanliness.
Railways also propose to associate State Governments and City Administrations for the development of the stations and areas around in an integrated and holistic manner. City authorities and other stake holders would also be taken on board for such an endeavour for facilitating timely implementation of projects in an integrated manner incorporating development of traffic circulation around 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 land and air space in the stations. Major Redevelopment of busy stations without hindering the normal operational and technical working poses a special challenge. Railways have good experience in executing major works at stations without adversely impacting the normal working. In addition, lessons learnt from experience of other Railways world over in this area would be made use of.