Stating that the time may have come to think about a public-private body to operate Mumbais suburban railway system,Union Minister for Railways Dinesh Trivedi said on Friday that he sees potential for an initial private role in developing railway stations in Mumbai. As much as 30 per cent of revenues in the suburban system could come from commercially developed station complexes in the foreseeable future,he said.
Responding to questions about private participation in developing the railways,Trivedi said,The answer is a big yes. The time may have come to think about an SPV for the suburban system. Suburban railways have their own unique problems and advantages. I have briefly talked about this,we could think of making the Mumbai suburban system a model, he said. Operations would continue to be controlled by the Railways,he said,adding that the private sector may also be considered for supply of rolling stock,signalling systems and rail tracks.
Trivedi visited Dadar Railway station earlier in the day,one of the stations earmarked for a proposed private commercial development.
With PPP,stations could be developed like airports, he said. With Mumbais suburban railway stations occupying prime real estate,the ministry is considering proposals for their makeover with private investments,by making use of vertical space available. On Dadar,he said there is a major plan to revamp the station,integrate and increase the circulation area and turn it into a world class station. But there is a capital requirement for this, he said. As much as 45 per cent of the Indian Railways’ traffic comes from suburban railway systems,Mumbai’s being the biggest by far.