Sunday, 25 February 2018 | Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi-
The Centre has decided to allow private developers to come up with affordable housing ventures on the premises of as many as 600 railway stations across the country. The move is part of Railway Ministry’s ambitious station development programme which also envisages malls, shopping arcades, indoor games facilities and even space for socio-cultural events.
Interestingly, one would not need to be a railway employee to avail the housing scheme. Any Indian citizen wishing to have a railway station as his residential address can opt for it.
Railway Ministry sources said all the 600 stations chosen for redevelopment will have the residential complexes to be developed by Railway’s special purpose vehicle, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC), mandated to come up with world-class stations.
“In a bid to monetise the railway station premises, soon a citizen not working in the Indian Railways too can boast of a railway colony residential address. As part of the ambitious station development programme, the Ministry of Railways has decided to allow the developers to come with affordable housing ventures within the station premises,” said a Railway Ministry official.
The Railway Board in a meeting last week allowed residential and commercial development to generate revenues for the ailing health of the national transporter.
The primary aim of such a transit-oriented policy of having residential buildings on railway land with a railway station in its vicinity is to cut down on commuting expenses, vehicle volumes and provide convenience to the people who can walk to their work, what with their offices being on the same railway premises.
The proposal to develop 130 stations in the first phase has been sent for Cabinet approval. The railway station redevelopment scheme was mentioned by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech this year with a Budget sanction of Rs 3,300 crore. The Railways has also launched a competition to select designs for redeveloping the major stations with the tile SRIJAN (or station rejuvenation through joint action).
“People and railways together can make the maximum use of this kind of policy. One can stay in the same locality where he will have his office or work. We will give space to both – home and work — in the same premises,” explained the official.
The Board, however, has put a rider in the policy the detailed framework of which will now be prepared by the IRSDC. The residential accommodation will not have to be large ones or like duplex and penthouses but smaller and mid-sized habitable units.
Under the station redevelopment scheme, railways will give the stations to be redeveloped on a 99-year lease to the highest bidder for completion, development and subsequent operation. The investment plan for the redevelopment and commercial development together at the designated railway stations has been pegged at Rs 1 lakh crore.
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