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.


Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to become a world-class station

Lokmanya Tilak Terminus has got the railway board’s nod to be made into a world-class station.
Central Railway (CR) general manager Subodh Jain confirmed the development and stated that the Expression of Interest for the project is likely to be issued within six months.

CR had plans to make CST into a world-class station by giving it a major face lift. However, it is facing hurdles due to the alleged implications of the project on the heritage value of the station. As a result, CR is now considering LTT as the next major terminus in the city due to its feasibility.

CR plans to develop the total 20 acres of land at LTT for commercial exploitation to generate funds.
The plan includes constructing multi-level car parking, hotels, commercial establishments and escalators.
LTT has the largest circulating area when compared with any other railway station in the city. The plan is to construct an elevated deck at LTT with parking area above and a skywalk to connect Kurla station from LTT.
Authorities plan to increase the number of platforms to 12 from the existing five. Moreover, in order to increase services and decongest Dadar Terminus, CR is planning to shift operations of long distance trains from Dadar to LTT within a year.

The Asian Age, in its June 25 edition had carried a story on CR’s plan to make LTT into a world-class station. Under the first phase, CR has already spent `22 crore on the new building and another `40 crore has been sanctioned under Phase 2.

The future prospects are bright for LTT as the Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road will have a landing for the station. Due to this, passengers could reach the Western and Eastern Express Highways within minutes.
The Metro stations that will come up will also enhance the connectivity of LTT.


5-6 years needed to complete world-class station project

In written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Railways KH Muniappa said work would begin after award of concession and financial closure is achieved by the concessionaire.

The completion of the project is likely to take five-six years due to “complexity and necessity to undertake the work while keeping the station operational”, the minister said. He said consultancy works for preparing the master plan and feasibility report had been taken up for New Delhi, CST Mumbai and Patna, but “due to high cost of these projects, not much headway could be made”.

He said measures had been initiated for appointment of consultants for 11 other stations – Secunderabad, Howrah, Anand Vihar (Ph. II), Chandigarh, Bijwasan, Kolkata, Porbandar, Surat, Ahmedabad, Sealdah and Chennai Central. For other stations, preliminary activities are being taken up by the Zonal Railways, he said.

In her Rail Budget in 2009 Banerjee had proposed that around 50 stations would be developed as world class stations with international level facilities. The stations would be developed through innovative financing and in Public Private Partnership mode. Among the stations to be developed into world class stations are CST Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Howrah, Sealdah, Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Amritsar, Kanpur, Guwahati, Jaipur, Chennai Central, Tiruvananthapuram Central, Secunderabad, Tirupati, Bangalore City, Baiyapanahali (Bangalore), Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Habibganj, Gaya Jn., Agra Cantt., Mathura Jn., Chandigarh, Kolkata, New Jalpaiguri, Majerhat, Mangalore, Porbandar, Anand Vihar (Delhi), Bijwasan (Delhi), Ajmer Jn. and Puri.


Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment