Railways may unlock prime residential property soon

railway_property

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways may soon unlock its prime residential property across the country for redevelopment, a move that could bring in additional revenue of Rs 20,000-25,000 crore for the national transporter.

The Railways owns real estate in all major cities and has swathes of residential property in Connaught Place, Nizamuddin and Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, apart from land in the heart of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune. The plan is to grant 99-year leases to developer making compelling offers for such land, a senior Railway Board official said.

The ministry has asked all 17 zonal offices to compile details of residential land that can be redeveloped and offered to investors. The Railways has over 40,000 hectares of land, of which almost 950 hectares has been encroached upon.

Work on the plan to unlock railway real estate for commercial development was started during Suresh Prabhu’s tenure as minister. Now, with Piyush Goyal taking his place, the project is being implemented with renewed interest.

“We have huge residential colonies spread across the country. Railways, through builders, can redevelop the area by constructing multi-storey buildings and towers. Whatever is needed for railway requirement can be kept aside, remaining towers could be leased out,” the official said.

Goyal took up the issue of redeveloping and unlocking railway land at a meeting with real estate companies last month.

The Railways is looking at the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) model. NBCC redevelops government colonies by making high-rise buildings and commercial complexes and leases part of the property to private parties, setting aside some units for government use.

“We could have a similar model. The Railway Land Development Authority will be the nodal agency for all land redevelopment projects, whereas the Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corp. will oversee the redevelopment of railway stations,” the official added. The station redevelopment project envisages building of apartments on land adjoining railway stations. The Railways is bidding out 23 stations for such redevelopment.

This article was first published on Economictimes on Oct 23rd 2017