Indian Railways Latest News: The picture of railway stations of India may change in the coming few years. More than 40 stations can be converted into malls and for this the Railways is preparing a package of 17,500 crores. These stations will be equipped with rooftop plazas, which will house shopping centres, food courts and restaurants. This step of the Railways is keeping in mind the facilities of the railway passengers.
What was mentioned in the blueprint?
According to the Economic Times report, the railway blueprint said that many stations will be connected by elevated road and some stations will have a space above the track and hotel rooms with air concourse, food court and other facilities.
For example, the station ceiling in Somnath will have a dozen shikharas representing the 12 Jyotirlingas, while Gaya station in Bihar may have a separate hall for pilgrims. Some stations have been allocated Rs 61 crore for Kanyakumari and Rs 91 crore for Nellore, while major stations like Prayagraj and Chennai have been allotted Rs 960 crore and Rs 842 crore respectively. This blueprint is not just for modernization of railways. This plan also indicates how the Railways views public-private partnership.
A senior railway official said on the condition of anonymity that now we are spending money only in developing the core station area. After that part is built in the next two-three years, we will invite bids from private companies to maintain these stations and develop more real estate in the surrounding areas.
This time the Railways has prepared the necessary funds before rolling the ball. The government has sanctioned Rs 17,500 crore (Rs 12,000 crore in the supplementary budget for 2021-22 and Rs 5,500 crore in the 2022-23 budget) for the modernization of 46 stations in the first phase. Railways plans to redevelop 300 more stations out of the country’s total of 9,274 (as of March 2020) in a later phase.