In a major initiative, the Indian Railways has signed an MoU with Union Urban Development Ministry to redevelop railway stations and adjoining areas on the lines of Smart City. To enhance passenger amenities, easy access to stations and enabling optimal utilization of land at railway stations, the MoU for 10 cities was signed in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Also Read - Ola to offer free oxygen concentrators to the needyAlso Read - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Long-term Review
These stations are: Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Varnasi, Jaipur, Kota, Thane, Margao (Goa), Tirupati and Puducherry. Both the ministers lauded the joint initiative as a historic landmark that brings synergy in development of smart cities since there cannot be a Smart City without a smart railway station.
“This convergence based city development will result in qualitative improvement in city life,” Naidu said on the occasion. He suggested that to begin with 10 cities could be taken up for the proposed redevelopment with the involvement of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) which has successfully executed redevelopment projects on self-financing basis.
“Railway stations have been the core of city development and have become congested over time and their redevelopment offers immense opportunities for changing city landscape,” Prabhu said. He said that several countries like Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, the UK and Belgium have showed interest in redevelopment and a Round Table of domestic and overseas bankers will be organised next week to discuss financing of these redevelopment projects. ALSO READ: Indian Railways to soon launch a pan-India virtual museum
To be implemented first in the 100 cities included in the Smart City Mission, redevelopment of railway stations will be undertaken in AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and HRIDAY (Heritage Infrastructure Development and Augmentation Yojana) cities extending the scope of the MoU to over 500 cities. Railway station and the adjoining area in each of these cities will be redeveloped on the lines of Area Based Development provided in the Smart City Mission Guidelines.
“The joint initiative of the Ministries of Urban Development and Railways widens the Smart City development to one more area in each of the mission cities with each city required to select one area under respective Smart City Plans in the first phase,” an official statement said. ALSO READ: Kochi Smart City to be fully operational by 2020
While the Ministry of Railways takes the responsibility of forming Joint Ventures, the Ministry of Urban Development will work with the states and urban local bodies for integrating railway station redevelopment as part of smart city development plans. The MoU states that both railway station redevelopment and Smart City concepts are part of holistic development of respective city. Redevelopment of railway station and its area as part of Smart City Plans leads to an integrated public transport hub around railway station and encourage Transit Oriented Development.