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Cash-strapped railways looks to pvt players for bailout

NEW DELHI: The cash strapped Indian railways now seem to be turning back to private developers for a bailout in its major projects. The shift by railway minister Mamata Banerjee comes at a time when the plan for modernization of 86 stations – a pet project of the minister – has been handed over to the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), a statutory authority established by the ministry for generating non-tariff revenue from railway land.
RLDA on Friday announced appointment of private developers for development of multi-functional complexes (MFCs) at five stations across the country — Cuttack, Dehradun, Jhansi, Katra and Nanded. This is the first time that MFCs are being developed through private investment.
According to sources, RLDA plans to invite bids for 86 more MFCs at railway stations across India soon, and all these MFCs are set to be awarded this year. Several important sites for commercial development of surplus railway land including 4.5 hectares at Bandra, 3.3 hectares at Aurangabad, 2 hectares at Jamnagar and 2.2 hectares at Chennai, are also expected to be awarded this year by RLDA.
Indian Railways had earlier introduced the concept of MFC at railway stations beginning 2009-10, for developing facilities for rail users at one centralized complex. "This is to improve and upgrade the existing amenities for the rail users in cities having tourist and religious importance by way of developing the land and air space at railway stations. MFCs will be developed to provide rail users with facilities like retail outlets, restaurants, book stalls, ATMs, medicare and variety stores, budget hotels and modern parking facilities.

Source - Times of India

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