The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the redevelopment of 400 railway stations across the country using the “Swiss Challenge Method”.
Announcing the decision, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that 400 A1 and A category stations will be offered for redevelopment by inviting open bids from interested parties. Elaborating on the Swiss Challenge Method, Jaitley said, “It’s a new process of giving contracts wherein any person with credentials can submit a development proposal to the government. That proposal will be put online and a second person can give suggestions to improve and beat that proposal.”
Jaitley further said that while the best proposal will be selected by an expert committee, the original proposer will be given a chance to match it, incase it is an improvement on his proposal. If he is unable to match the competing proposal, the project will be awarded to the competing proposer, he said.
The proposal essentially envisages redevelopment of railway stations on ‘as is where is’ basis through open invitation from interested parties with their designs and business ideas including permitting commercial development of real estate by the zonal railways.
“A-1 and A category stations (about 400) shall be offered for redevelopment by inviting open bids from interested parties. These stations are to be developed by leveraging real estate development of land and air space in and around the stations,” the government said.
These category of stations are generally located in metros, pilgrimage centres and important tourist destinations across the country. It will also encourage innovative ideas from interested parties at no cost to the Railways, the government added.
OTHER CABINET DECISIONS
# The Cabinet cleared the second phase of eCourts Mission Mode Project at an estimated cost of Rs 1,670 crore.
# It approved the centrally sponsored scheme of the Phase-II of National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project. The second phase will be implemented in Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal with World Bank assistance.
# It also gave its ex-post facto approval for Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015, which was introduced in Lok Sabha on May 13 for repealing 187 obsolete Acts.
The Cabinet also approved introduction of a new Bill, namely, the Repealing and Amending (Fourth) Bill, 2015 in the Lok Sabha for the repeal of 295 Acts.