Railway stations to turn retail havens soon

Railway passengers can look forward to a retail experience similar to what’s offered in shopping malls now as 197 stations have been considered for setting up multi-functional complexes
Railway stations to turn retail havens soon
A view of shops located at the Chennai Central station (Photo: Prakaash)

Chennai

In an effort to provide rail users an experience on par with that of air travellers, Indian Railways has identified about 197 railway stations including 10 in Tamil Nadu for setting up multifunctional complexes (MFC). 
Conceived as a viable mode for generating non-tariff revenue from railway land, the MFCs are proposed to have facilities such as shopping malls, food courts and variety stores among others. 
“The developer winning the bid for developing MFC would get the railway land on 45 years lease but the MFC developed will be part of the railway operational buildings and will be transferred back to the railways once the lease period ends,” a senior railway official said quoting the policy document. 
According to the official, identification of the railway stations was done after carefully selecting railway land generally in the range of 1,000 sq m to 3,000 sq m at the station with passenger interface. Developed as a winwin model, the railways not just get passenger amenities developed at no cost to the government but also gets revenue out of it. 
While the rail users get facilities on par with that of air travellers, developers also get benefited as the railway stations provide assured footfalls. 
Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha recently said that development of some of the MFCs have been assigned to Zonal Railways. 
“Initially development of MFCs was assigned to Railway Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and to Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA),” he said and added that the total expenditure incurred by PSUs on construction of MFCs is approximately Rs.109 crore. 
Railway officials also pointed out that works for developing MFCs by Zonal Railways are sanctioned under ‘Passenger amenities.’ 
Apart from ten railway stations in the state, 11 railway stations in Kerala including Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Kozhikode have also been identified for setting up MFCs.

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