Habibganj Railway Station to become India’s First Private Railway Station
Habibganj railway station in the suburbs of Bhopal will become country’s first railway station to be redeveloped in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode. On June 9, station redevelopment work in the railway station will be launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. The idea is to develop Habibganj railway station as a as a world-class transit hub equipped with all amenities.
The operation and maintenance of the railway station has been given to Bhopal-based Bansal Group for a period of eight years. The group has managed to win the bid in 2016. Bansal Group plans to completely overhaul the station and develop four commercial land parcels to make Habibganj a commercial hub with shops, offices and hotels, all in a span of three years.
The environment-friendly railway station will be powered by solar energy. The station will have facilities for disabled, in addition, to lifts, escalators and travelators, underpasses. In case of emergency, the station will be redesigned in such a way that the the premises can be evacuated in four minutes and passengers can reach designated points of safety in six minutes.
Bansal Group will be responsible for all the facilities at the station like food stalls, retiring rooms, power, platform maintenance, parking etc. However, the company will not be responsible for core operations such as train and parcel movement, signalling and ticketing.
IRSDC will oversee the Habibganj project. IRSDC is formed by railway unit Ircon International Ltd (IRCON) and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) to undertake station redevelopment projects.
The idea to set up world-class railway stations was mooted by former railways minister Mamata Banerjee in 2009-10. It was only in 2015, the project was revived by the railway minister Suresh prabhu. The Habibganj project is a part of the Indian Railways’ ambitious plan to re-develop 400 A1 and A category railway stations.
Indian Railways’ ambition to redevelop 400 stations into world-class facilities is completely based upon its idea of land monetization. It aims to modernize and upgrade passenger amenities at stations by raising money through commercial development of railway land. Avenues such as land monetization, catering and parking will be utilized to boost overall revenue.