India’s top architectural firm belonging to Hafeez Contractor has offered to design a few stations in a joint venture with government’s upcoming schemes. Government is set to come up with an empanelled group to design 600-odd stations announced in the Budget. The railways will approach the Cabinet in a month with a station redevelopment policy to give more financial independence to Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC). It will have the powers to raise money from the markets for station development.
Noted architect Hafeez Contractor had offered to design some stations, including major ones in Mumbai such as Dadar, Parel, Wadala, Bandra, and Khar. “We have offered to design at least 19 stations free of cost through a unique model. If they accept the model, the railways can generate more funds and push for developing those cities too. The station redevelopment plan is a lucrative investment opportunity for a lot of people,” said Contractor.
The MyGov portal of the government has launched a competition for low-cost station development ideas for more than 600 stations under SRIJAN (Station Rejuvenation Initiative through Joint ActioN).
“We are coming up with a group of empanelled architects,” said an official close to the development. Besides, the earlier classification of stations as A1, A, B, C, D, E and F on the basis of passenger earnings, including platform tickets, is being reworked.
Officials said under the new policy IRSDC might raise money from the market and invest in engineering, procurement, and construction contracts for station redevelopment. Private players would be invited for commercial development.
Following this, industry majors like the Tata group, Shapoorji Pallonji, GMR, the Essel group, and Larsen & Toubro had raised concerns over the terms of the policy with Goyal in October. The new policy is likely to allow 20 per cent of the redeveloped area on the station premises for residential purposes, while the remaining 80 per cent would be for commercial use.
The story was initially published in Business Standard.