Oct 21, 2016

Coming soon: Smarter railway stations

PHOTO: S.S. KumarFACELIFT: Puducherry is one of the railway stations to be taken up for the upgrade.

MoU between Railways and Ministry of Urban Development promises ambitious redevelopment
: You can’t have a smart city without a smart railway station. Keeping that in mind, more than 500 railway stations in the country will ‘smarten up’ with better passenger amenities, easy access and integrated public transport hubs.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between the Urban Development Ministry and the Railways on Wednesday, expects to redevelop railway stations and surrounding areas under the Smart City plan.Stations to be upgraded

To begin with, 100 railway stations and an adjoining area of 300-800 acres would be redeveloped in the Smart Cities and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Cities plans.

At present, railway stations in 10 cities could be taken up for the redevelopment with the involvement of the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

They are Varanasi, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Bhubaneswwar, Lucknow, Varnasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Margao (Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry.

Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said that railway stations, which are at the core of city development, have become congested over time. Their redevelopment offers immense opportunities for the changing city landscape. Mr. Prabhu said that countries like Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, the U.K. and Belgium have shown interest in the redevelopment of railway stations. A meeting of domestic and overseas bankers will be organised next week to discuss the financing of these redevelopment projects.

The scope of the MoU will be extended to over 500 cities in time. The cost of redeveloping about 500 acres in the Smart City Plans of 60 approved cities is approximately Rs. 1,500 crore.

The validity of the MoU is five years and can be extended with the consent of both the ministries.
Source - The Hindu

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