Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are less than nine months away from getting the country’s first two state-of-the-art “airport-like” railway stations. The two stations — Habibganj in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal and Gandhinagar in Gujarat — are part of the government’s ambitious one lakh crore rupee station redevelopment program to speed up modernisation of the Indian Railways.
SK Lohia, the Managing Director and CEO of the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation or IRSDC told news agency PTI that “Habibganj station will be ready by December this year and Gandhinagar station will be completed by January 2019.” He also confirmed that the Gandhinagar station will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi before the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2019.
HABIBGANJ STATION, BHOPAL – FACILITIES AND AMENITIES
Enlisting some of the facilities and amenities of the Habibganj station, Mr Lohia said, “The station will include 600 comfortable waiting benches, clean and hygienic toilets, and large retail areas (similar to airports).” He went on to say that “The Railways is also exploring other ideas such as lounges and video-game zones, as well as virtual museums for these stations.”
The retail space, he said, would include shops, cafe’s and fast food restaurants. The stations would also have free and secure WiFi available to all passengers.
The Habibganj railway station will also have an entirely new building, which will have a massive glass dome-like structure to give it a futuristic look. There station will also have a plush waiting lounge comparable with any of the leading airports, and will have a dedicated food plaza and cafeterias, he said.
COST TO DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN THESE STATIONS
Mr Lohia also explained the costs involved to develop the Habibganj and Gandhinagar railway stations, and what it will take to maintain them.
“The entire responsibility of maintenance and revenue generation from these railway stations lies with the IRSDC (Indian Railway Station Development Corporation), and we have to make sure that these stations are revenue surplus and to the extent that it can be invested back in the maintenance and development of the station in the future,” he said.
Once fully ready, the cost of maintenance of the Habibganj station will be in the range of 4 to 5 crore rupees, he said. The estimated revenue will be between 6.5 and 7 crore rupees per annum, with a planned increase to more than 10 crores per annum, he said.
The overall redevelopment project of Habibganj Station is expected to be 450 crore rupees. Of this, 100 crores would be spent on station redevelopment and 350 crores on commercial development, Mr Lohia said.
The Gandhinagar station, which will have similar facilities as Habibganj, will be completed in a record two years, Mr Lohia said. The foundation stone was laid by PM Modi in January 2017.
“42 per cent of the civil work has already been completed and it will be ready in time to hold the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2019,” he said.
The Gandhinagar station is being redeveloped at a cost of 250 crore rupees. It is being jointly developed by IRSDC and the Gujarat state government. Apart from the station, the project will include a 300-room five-star hotel.
The hotel will be the central attraction and will be located right above the tracks. The ground floor of the hotel will be 22 metres above the railway tracks and will have three arched buildings combined to give it the shape of petals.