Kickstarting a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project to redevelop the Puducherry railway station, the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), an organisation under the Ministry of Railways, has called for two online pre-bid meetings on June 10 and 17.

The pre-bid meetings, held via video conferencing, will provide participating bidders an opportunity to seek details pertaining to the project. The commencement of bidding comes after RLDA floated an RFP (Request for Proposal) inviting bids for the selection of a suitable public or private entity for re-development of the Puducherry railway station.

The tender is tentatively scheduled to be awarded by the end of August.

As the nodal agency for the redevelopment of railway stations across the Indian Railway network, the RLDA is undertaking redevelopment of 62 railway stations across India on a PPP model as a part of Smart City Projects launched by the Government of India. The entire cost of re-development will be met by leveraging commercial development of spare railway land/airspace in and around the station.

The Puducherry station will be redeveloped with state-of-the-art amenities such as provisions for differently abled, harmonious co-existence of the railway station and real estate projects, green building among others on the Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Transfer (DBFOT) model. The cost of the project is estimated at ₹ 44crore.

Among the facilities envisaged in the redevelopment plan are congestion-free non-conflicting entry/exit to the station premises, segregation of arrival/departure of passengers, adequate concourse without overcrowding, integration of both sides of city wherever feasible, integration with other modes of transport system like bus and user-friendly international signages.

“The pre-bid meetings for Puducherry railway station redevelopment will be conducted through an online mode to ensure that the re-development of the Puducherry railway station doesn’t suffer any delay due to COVID19”, said Ved Parkash Dudeja, Vice-Chairman, Railway Land Development Authority.

According to the RLDA, the selected bidder will be required to undertake the upgradation and redevelopment of the Puducherry Railway Station, including the commercial development of the surrounding railway land followed by its operation and maintenance.

The size of the proposed land parcels are 2 acres (station component) and 3.8 acres (commercial component).

The term period for the project under the ‘Concession Agreement’ is 60 years which implies that concessionaire must operate and maintain the railway station buildings and estate for 60 years.

According to a press note from the RLDA, the redevelopment is being undertaken in view of Puducherry’s emergence as a popular weekend getaway due to its proximity to the major cities of Chennai, Bengalaru and Coimbatore. The city witnesses an annual tourist footfall that is projected to rise to 25 lakh by 2022, according to official estimates.

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