Modi government plans to smarten up railway stations in smart cities

The Union Urban Development Ministry has joined hands with the Indian Railways on 20 October, 2016 for the development of railway stations in smart cities as planned by the Centre.

The ministry and Railways will work together with agencies like the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), state governments and municipal bodies to create transportation hubs around railway stations that will accommodate all modes of local transport.
These transit-oriented hubs will be spread over nearly 500 acres. An estimated Rs 1,500 crore will be spent on the redevelopment of stations in the 60 cities that have been listed as smart cities.

The proposed redevelopment involving railway stations envisages improving passenger amenities, easy access to stations, integrated public transport hub, waiting halls and other amenities for passengers, development of residential and commercial spaces and landscaping. With funding of the project being a key concern, the Railways is seeking monetary assistance from foreign bankers.

Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu said that a round-table meeting with domestic and overseas bankers will be held next week to explore financing options for these projects. Countries like Germany, Japan, UK, France, South Korea and Belgium are likely to participate in the conference.
“Railway stations and adjoining areas will be redeveloped on smart city lines for enhancing passenger amenities and easy access to stations. Optimal utilisation of land at railway stations, as a part of smart city development will also be ensured,” said Union Urban Development Minister Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, after signing a MoU with the Railway Ministry.

To begin with, 10 cities would be taken up for the proposed redevelopment with the involvement of NBCC, which has successfully executed redevelopment projects on self-financing basis in the past. These include Sarai Rohilla in Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Varanasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Madgaon (Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry.

As per the MoU, Railways will be responsible for forming joint ventures. The Urban Development Ministry will work with state governments and urban local bodies for integrating railway station redevelopment as part of smart city development plans. Shri Prabhu said redevelopment of railway stations would primarily aim at decongestion of stations that would revamp the city landscape.