As land acquisition becomes a contentious issue, the Railways are contemplating monetising station rooftops, as part of its overall strategy to commercially exploit railway land to garner additional revenue.
“The average roof area per station is 12,300 square metre. By just providing a ten per cent built up area (1250 square metre) to developers, railways can cover the average cost of construction and renovation of all stations,” says a proposal submitted to the Ministry.
Average cost of construction and renovation for one station will be about Rs 50 crore. This is one of the options being discussed by the Railway Modernisation Committee.
Overall, the Indian Railways has 10,000 acres of surplus land in urban centres identified for commercialisation. “Even at a conservative estimate of Rs 5 crore per acre, Railways can raise Rs 50,000 crore,” says a railway modernisation proposal.
But this requires GIS mapping of land resources available with Railways. State Governments need to help by changing land use and allowing higher floor space index.
Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) has been inking agreements with different agencies for monetising railway land. For instance, Ircon’s subsidiary – Ircon Infrastructure and Services – has been mandated with the responsibility of developing Multi Functional Complexes (MFCs). MFCs are proposed to be offered on 30-45 years lease on upfront lease premium. To the RLDA, theRailway Ministry has sanctioned 67 and 93 MFC sites in 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.
In a related move, RLDA has also entered into an agreement with Ircon to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for redeveloping and maintaining railway stations.