In News :

Context :

  • Eleven railway stations under Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), including five in Assam, have been identified for the upgradation to airport-like standards as part of the Railway’s Rs 1 lakh crore station redevelopment programme.
  • Stations in Assam include Guwahati, Kamakhya, Lumding, New Tinsukia and Dibrugarh.
  • The other stations under NFR which made it to the list include Katihar, Purnea, Kishanganj, Barsoi, Dimapur and Agartala.
  • Station Redevelopment Programme:
  • Station Redevelopment Programme is the biggest non-fare revenue generating programme being undertaken by Indian Railways.
  • Financial Model of the programme: It will be executed in a public-private-partnership (PPP) model through a fair bidding system.
  • Government will not incur any expenditure as the developer will be rebuilding the railway stations and maintaining it for 15 years.
  • In return, the developer would be granted 45 years’ leasing rights for the commercial properties developed at these stations. These properties could be hotels, malls, hospitals, among others.
  • Selection Process: These stations will be awarded to private developers under the so called Swiss challenge method. It involves inviting proposal online and allowing rival bidders to beat that proposal.
  • Amenities at Revamped stations: escalators, elevators, digital signage, self ticketing counters, executive lounges, walkways, luggage screening machines, free and paid WiFi, etc.
  • Commercial potential of the vacant Railway land at and near the stations will be leveraged to develop world-class stations.

Significance :

  • The entire programme is estimated to attract investment of upto Rs 1 lakh crore from the developers.
  • It will help Railways will generate a surplus of Rs 10,000 crore which can be invested in other modernisation programmes.
  • Most of the pension funds in the world and a multilateral agency like World Bank are keen to participate in this project. It will benefit more than 100 cities and 16 million passengers per day across the country.
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