Project to develop Cantonment, Yeshwantpur rail stations stuck

Project to develop Cantonment, Yeshwantpur rail stations stuck

The railways’ ambitious station redevelopment programme, expected to give a facelift to Yeshwantpur and Cantonment stations among others in the country, has received a lukewarm response.

The two stations in the city are among the 23 across India chosen for the project where private investors will develop them to world-class standards and maintain them for 15 years.

In exchange, they can develop the “reserved railway land” near the stations and “air space” in the station development land for commercial gains. Additionally, the investor will also need to maintain the station’s non-railway operational activities.

However, the lukewarm response from investors, among other reasons, has forced the railways to postpone the last date of bidding four times since the project was announced in February. Documents show that the last date for submitting the bid was first extended from June 1 to July 21 through a corrigendum. However, the postponement continued with August 31, September 29 and now October 30 becoming the last date.

Senior railway officials confirmed investors were not enthusiastic about the project. “We invited 16 potential investors of whom only three expressed interest. Even they had a lot of doubts which we had to clarify. Since this is a new project, it took some time for them to be convinced,” they said.

“At Cantonment, there was confusion about the extent of railway land available to the developer due to the proposed Metro station. We increased it from 2.25 acres to three acres first, leaving an acre of land for Metro works. When Metro authorities said they will shift the station, we had to issue a corrigendum again to increase the land availability to four acres,” he said, explaining the postponements.

Sources said bidders were apprehensive about various issues. “The 15-year maintenance, required to ensure the quality of development, is a responsibility that scares them. They are also apprehensive about getting timely clearances from BBMP for development,” they said.

SWR chief public relations officer E Vijaya, however, said many developers expressed interest recently and collected details. “We are certain that firms will participate in the tender as the area being offered is in the heart of the city and has huge potential. We expect the project to take off and stations will be revamped,” she said.

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