Indian Railways will soon start levying a “user fee” as part of train fares for stations that have been redeveloped and major stations with high footfall in order to generate revenue to provide better facilities for passengers, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said on Thursday.
Yadav said the charges would be nominal, and applicable in 10-15 per cent of the 7,000 railway stations.
“We will keep a very small amount for the user charge. We will issue a notification for the user charge for all stations, including those being redeveloped and those that are not. When redevelopment of the stations is completed, the money will go to the concessionaires, till then that money will go to the railways for improving facilities across stations. It will be an affordable amount, but it is important to levy if we want to provide world-class facilities similar to airports. We want to upgrade all our major railway stations,” Yadav said.
“We will not levy it across all our 7,000 stations, but all major stations where passenger footfall is increasing over the next five years. It will be done in 10-15 per cent of all our stations where we expect footfall to increase,” he added.
The statement comes in the backdrop of concerns raised over potential rise in prices of tickets with private entities being allowed to run trains. Yadav said that fares of Indian Railways are highly subsidised and there is a plan to “rationalise” them.
“I believe that competency will ensure that eventually the prices of both passenger and freight fares will decrease in due course,” said NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
Railways plans to redevelop 50 stations, and monetise its land. The redeveloped hubs will be called ‘Railopolis’, according to Railways. It will lease the land out for 60 years for commercial purposes.
“We want Railways to drive India’s growth story. In countries like Japan and South Korea the growth story was also driven by railway infrastructure. We are confident that going forward Railways will contribute 1-2 per cent towards India’s growth,” Kant said.
The Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation Ltd (IRSDC), the implementing agency of the station redevelopment project, earlier handed over two railway stations — Habibganj in Madhya Pradesh and Gandhinagar in Gujarat — to private parties for development under public-private partnership plans to complete both by December 2020.
While 94.05 per cent civil work is complete at Gandhina-gar station, the project at Habibganj is 90 per cent complete.
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