Boston Consulting Group (BCG) the global management consulting firm, is India’s new Strategic Adviser to tell the government how best to go about redeveloping the 400 stations in the country — a project pushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has suffered lack of pace for long.
Indian Railways awarded the contract to BCG on Monday for an estimated Rs 8 crore and the job timeline of six months. During the next six months, BCG will analyse the bouquet of stations up for redevelopment in a first-of-its-kind exercise in Railways to tell the government, among other things, which station is worth how much vis-a-vis commercial redevelopment prospects in the market, and how best to go about taking up the redevelopment job for each.
This comes with policymakers in Rail Bhavan realising that a single redevelopment model cannot be applied to all stations. Moreover, since the transporter may not be best suited to assess the real estate market, the job was thought best to be given to a professional agency.
The uniqueness of the redevelopment project is evident from the fact that Railways has signed an MoU with the Gujarat government and municipal authorities to give the commercial developer of Surat station a lease period of 90 years as opposed to 45 years for the Habibganj station in Bhopal, which was given to Bansal Pathways recently.
“We realised that in Surat, the lease period offered by state agencies was for 90 years. So, in Surat, we have created a land pool by joining land owned by Railways with those by the state. We could not have different lease periods for the same project,” said a senior railway official.
Railway policymakers are certain that similar situations unique to each station or each state would present themselves in the course of executing the whole exercise. A role of a single Strategic Adviser, therefore, becomes important to give railways a thorough understanding of the market and the worth of what it offers to that market.