Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat enjoys a special place in his government, if the plans of Ministry of Railways are anything to go by.
Going beyond the promises of the rail budget, the Railways has been asked by the Cabinet Secretariat to extend the list for its mega-station redevelopment project from five to eight by including two stations from Gujarat and one from the Railways minister Sadananda Gowda’s home state Karnataka.
Gandhinagar, Surat and Mangalore would now be developed as “model stations” along with Chandigarh, Bijwasan, Anand Vihar (both in Delhi), Shivaji Nagar (Pune) and Habibganj. Each station development project is likely to cost more than Rs 500 crore.
The plan includes modern airport-like facilities and allround real-estate development around stations and commercial utilisation of space by private partners.
The department has also been asked by the PMO to fully mordernise a locomotive shed-cum-workshop in Dahod, Gujarat, which has been under-utilised since steam engines were phased out. The modernisation plan would be announced in the next rail budget. The Dahod project is said to be dear to Modi.
Following the PMO’s wishes, the Railways has given the job of developing Surat station to the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation, which was already carrying out the job on the five identified stations.
For Gandhinagar, the Railways’ PSU Rail Land Development Authority was given the job a month ago. Considering the “priority of the project”, the RLDA floated tender to appoint a consultant for techno-economic feasibility and it was opened on Thursday. Officials said award of contract would take place before March 2015.
For Mangalore, Railways has already met the local administration to outline the scope of work, according to documents accessed by The Indian Express.
For overhauling the Dahod workshop, which started operation in the early 20th Century as a steam loco shed, the Railways needs some more time to work out a plan.