New Delhi Railway Station ( Photo: Dailymail.co.uk)
Hailed as the world’s largest Transit Oriented Development and Multi-modal Transport Integration project, the Indian Railways has planned a sustainable development of 412 stations under the PPP route.
The project will be executed by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC). It will implementing the project for eight stations directly. Working with IRSDC is Blue Earth Enterprise, a public policy strategy consulting firm. It is the general policy advisor to IRSDC on sustainable redevelopment of railway stations and other outreach efforts. Shashanka Shekhar Panda, Founder-Chairman and CEO, Blue Earth Enterprise Private Limited answers some pertinent questions related to this redevelopment:
Which stations are going to be redeveloped?
There is a long list, a few that are likely to start first are Habibganj, Bijwasan, Anand Vihar.
What would this redevelopment entail?
Redevelopment would entail reconstruction of the railway station and redevelopment of the land surrounding the railway stations.
What are the practices that the government will need to adopt to keep the momentum of this change and redevelopment?
Integrated project delivery would be the key. Energy efficiency integration, customer research, feedback would be very important to keep the project on the right track. International best practices such as Open Data systems and mechanisms would also be necessary. Timely construction of projects, adherence to the manual of world class stations, proper selection of project management consultants, capacity building and training and development are hygiene issues.
What kind of investment is being looked at to bring this change?
A conservative estimate is investment of INR 412 bn.
Will this change in any way have an impact on the freight trains and cargo loading areas too?
In the parameters specified in the draft documents by agencies appointed by the Ministry of Railways, it is clearly mentioned that codes and manuals specified for the design and construction of redeveloped stations would need to be adhered. The manual for world class stations clearly recommends that the parcel and parcel movement be completely reorganised such that it does not obstruct or come into conflict with passenger movement and management. It has been recommended that the parcel and parcel movement be incorporated into the freight operations of the railways. So parcel movement might be directly impacted and the freight movement might be indirectly impacted to that extent.
When can the public see this change?
I think that the first project should be ready in the next three to four years.
Will there be any infrastructural changes?
The train station would be transformed into iconic stations. The surrounding areas would witness real estate development and the common areas would be redeveloped as transit oriented development areas with multi-modal transport integration.
Who all are supporting this change?
The project is the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is being executed by the Ministry of Railways under the able leadership of Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu. The first tranche of eight stations is being executed by IRSDC that has a competent team headed by a CEO and a COO, who are experts in their respective area. Of course, the wider infrastructure developer community from across the world is supporting this project as is the informed Indian public.
Disclaimer: All views are personal (that is of Shashanka Shekhar Panda, Founder-Chairman and CEO, Blue Earth Enterprise)and do not necessarily represent that of IRSDC or any other organisation or the government.