Privatisation of MGR Chennai Central has hit a dead-end. Attempts to engage private players to redevelop the railway station has seen little progress ever since Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC), a joint venture of Rail Land Development Authority and IRCON, took over from Indian Railways.
Senior SR officers who confirmed the participation of the leading firms in the pre-tendering meeting and the conditions put forth by them revealed to DT Next that the private firms had insisted on railways awarding platform ticket sale and station cleaning to them. Currently, station cleaning has been contracted to private players, while railways directly handles platform ticket sale. “Awarding platform ticket sale to private firms is a policy decision the ministry must make. Existing station cleaning work tenders should be cancelled if they are to meet the requirements of the private players. Also, the work has been taken over by IRSDC now. Now, we don’t handle it even,” a SR officer requesting anonymity said. Unlike other stations, land availability is another issue for a station like MGR Central.
Opining that development of parking space was another major deterrent to private players showing disinterest in Central station now, the officer in the know added that the interest of firms could be revived once Chennai Metro Rail Limited completes the under-construction multi-level car parking and Central Square projects. Calicut station in Kerala has also been drawing considerable interest among private players.