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Indian Railways to offer world-class airport-style comforts at railway stations for nominal user fee; details

Devanjana Nag

Pay nominal user fee for world-class Indian Railways stations: The Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation Limited (IRSDC) is currently working towards the redevelopment of many railway stations across the country, with an aim to transform them into swanky airport-like hubs. Recently, Financial Express Online learned that an airport-like user fee will be levied on passengers who use the redeveloped railway stations. The move is likely to result in a marginal hike in fares. At various airports, the User Development Fee is charged by passengers and the rate of this fee varies based on various factors. However, Indian Railways has made it clear that the user fee for the redeveloped stations will be kept at a nominal amount so that passengers while experiencing airport-like comforts, don’t feel a pinch on their pockets.

The user fee levied on Indian Railways passengers may differ across the newly developed railway stations depending on their footfall. However, the user fee would not be applicable for Habibganj and Gandhinagar railway stations, which are going to be the country’s first two world-class stations. Apart from these two stations, the user fee will be implemented for the rest of the redeveloped stations including Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan, Sabarmati, Gwalior, Nagpur, Amritsar railway stations.

Last month, for the redevelopment of four railway stations-Amritsar, Gwalior, Nagpur and Sabarmati stations, IRSDC held a pre-application conference for interested bidders for the request for quotations (RFQs) on the basis of design-build finance operate transfer (DBFOT). Some of the amenities and facilities like separate exit and entry points, retail, hospitality, shopping, F&B facilities will be made available at these redeveloped railway stations.

The redevelopment works at Habibganj station and Gandhinagar station have begun already. The Habibganj railway station in Bhopal is being revamped on the lines of Germany's Heidelberg railway station, in partnership with the Bansal Group. The project is expected to cost approximately Rs 100 crore, while an amount of Rs 350 crore will be spent on its in and around commercial development. While the Gandhinagar railway station is being redeveloped at a cost of around Rs 250 crore.