Railways to exploit LTT land to fund CST makeover

Railway authorities are expecting revenue of around Rs.600 crore through commercial exploitation of around 20 acres of open land at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT).

Sources said this was the Railways’ Plan B in its effort to hasten the ambitious project of developing CST as a world-class station that has been stuck in a heritage tangle for the past three years.

Although it was announced in the railway budget of 2009-10, the development of CST, tagged as a world heritage site, as a world-class station, failed to take off as UNESCO turned down the Railways’ plea to rationalise the buffer zone around CST. A few months ago, it had asked railway authorities to carry out a heritage impact study. Concerned about the future of the project, authorities started exploring other avenues to fund the project.

The Railways had first planned commercial development of its land at Carnac Bunder, to generate revenue for the CST project. Now, authorities are mulling the commercial exploitation of land at LTT. At Carnac Bunder, authorities were planning budget hotels, malls, multi-storey parking and food courts. A top CR official said, “Our estimate is that through commercial development at LTT, we can generate at least Rs600 crore in revenue.”

The ‘Railway Land Development Authority’ (RLDA), the apex body that decides about commercial exploitation of railway land, is now going to study the actual valuation of land through consultants. Pankaj Jain, vice chairman of RLDA, was in town recently to explore the possibility of commercial development of land at LTT, Thane and Haji Bunder.

Jain inspected Thane station and discussed with CR general manager, Subodh Jain, various issues related to the commercial development of railway land.

“At Thane station we have planned to develop a multi-functional station with various passenger amenities such as dormitories, waiting rooms and food courts,” Subodh Jain said.

Subodh Jain also said they had asked RLDA to appoint a consultant to study what could be done to develop railway land at Haji Bunder, where the Railways have another huge piece of land.


Railways offer prime land for commercial activities

Chandigarh: Type of `activity’ yet to be decided; a mall or hotel likely, say sources

Realising the worth of a huge chunk of land lying vacant with it, the Northern Railways has proposed commercial activities on it in collaboration with some private parties.

Two pieces of vacant land measuring a total of 65 acres, which have been offered to the Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA), would
be given on leasehold or licence basis for commercial development.

Recently RLDA, a body formed especially for the development of
railway land, had asked the Northern Railways to identify the vacant land with the Chandigarh railway station that can be commercially exploited.

Based on the suggestions and recommendations, railway authorities
selected two plots on main Madhya Marg. The area of these two plots
is 57.5 acre and 7.5 acre respectively.

“The Northern Railways has selected two plots for commercial development and offered them to RLDA. These plots are near the Territorial Army area on the Madhya Marg. The total land with the Chandigarh railway station is around 490 acres, out of this around 65 acres has been identified for commercial activity,” said Divisional Railway Manager H K Jaggi.

Though it is yet to be decided as to what type of commercial activity
will come up on the vacant land, sources said keeping in mind the
location, a mall or a hotel is likely. According to RLDA members looking after the project, the land would be given either on leasehold or licence basis to a private party for a limited period.

Under the RLDA Act, a vacant land can be used for commercial purposes
by all the other means but selling it to a private party.

According to railway officials, a survey would be conducted to conclude what kind of property is in demand. “Consultants would be
appointed to conduct a survey for the use of this land. The final decision would be based on the survey report but there are chances that a hotel or a commercial mall might be built on these plots,” said Jaggi.

A budget hotel is also coming up at one of the other vacant land plots with the railways.

This project is handled by IRCTC which will come up on a land on the
inner-connecting road to the railway station.