Union Cabinet gives nod to redevelop 400 major railway stations
Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the redevelopment of 400 major railway stations.
This approval will enable the Union Ministry of Railways to accelerate the redevelopment of ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category railway stations across the country. These stations generally are located in major cities, metros, pilgrimage centres and important tourist destinations.
These major railway stations will be redeveloped under a new a unique method which is form of public procurement of ideas called the Swiss Challenge. It will also encourage innovative ideas from interested parties without any additional extra cost from the Railways.
Under this initiative, major stations will be redeveloped by leveraging real estate development of land and air space in and around the stations. It also includes permitting commercial development of real estate by the Zonal Railways.
Swiss Challenge: In this method, government agencies are required to invite bids for a public project such as a port or railways. Under this method the bid is invited from third parties to match or exceed or improve the existing bid. Finally, the original bidder gets to lower the bid or accept the new bid.
Categorisation of A-1 and A category railway stations: At present, Indian Railway’s based on earnings classify 7000 railway stations into seven categories. A-1 category railway stations are those non-suburban stations with 50 crore rupees and above annual passenger earnings. While, Category A railway stations comprises non-suburban stations with 6 crore to 50 crore rupees annual passenger earnings.