09 February 2017 Current Affairs: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on 8 February 2017 launched the first phase of the Station Redevelopment Program comprising 23 major railway stations on Indian Railways network.
Some of these 23 stations will be Chennai Central, Ranchi, Udaipur City, Indore, Yesvantpur, Bangalore Cantonment, Visakhapatnam, Howrah, Kamakhya, Faridabad, Jammu Tawi, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Kozhikode and Bhopal.
The Railways Ministry will collaborate with the Union Ministry of Urban Development to develop these smart stations.
The re-development of 400 A1 and A Category Stations is a non-fare revenue generating programme which will be done on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model through a fair bidding system.
In the first phase, 23 stations will be selected and redeveloped for the fullest use where passengers can enjoy so many facilities at one place.
These stations will be selected after a detailed feasibility study by the strategic advisor The Boston Consulting Group.
After the first phase, 100+ stations are expected to be launched in Phase 2 and the remaining A1 and A stations will be launched in Phase 3 of this program.
These railway stations will be redeveloped using the surplus revenue generated from commercial development of spare railway land.
Indian Railways will provide approximately 140 acres of encroachment free land at these stations to the developers on a 45 year lease. There will be nodal officers in each zone to ensure smooth interactions with the developers.
The redeveloped stations will improve passenger experience by providing amenities like elevators, self ticketing counters, executive lounges, luggage screening machines, walkways, distinctive roofing and flooring, free and paid Wi-Fi, etc.
The program will benefit more than 100 cities and 16 million passengers per day across the country.
With an overall investment of Rs 1 lakh crore, this program is one of the largest PPP program undertaken in the country.