We are developing 62 stations leveraging the strengths of the private and public sectors: Ved Parkash Dudeja
Real Estate

We are developing 62 stations leveraging the strengths of the private and public sectors: Ved Parkash Dudeja

The mandate of the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) is to monetise railway land, especially surplus railway land available across the country. It has several opportunities for consultants, developers and investors across the country. RLDA is currently developing 62 stations by leveraging the land resources available in all the major towns in the country. It is also in the process of bidding out developments works for the Delhi Railway Station.

In an exclusive video interview hosted by CONSTRUCTION WORLD, Ved Parkash Dudeja, Vice Chairman, Rail Land Development Authority, shares more on the opportunities, the plan, how the authority is coping with the current pandemic, and more...

Excerpts:

Private sector participation: RLDA’s mandate is to monetise railway land, especially surplus railway land available over Indian Railways across the country. We are developing 62 stations by leveraging the land resources available in all the major towns in the country. We will be developing these stations on the PPP mode by leveraging the strengths of both, the private sector and the public sector. The private sector has got the expertise of new innovations in construction and architecture and we have the land available in important towns. Development of stations of international standards needs a lot of investments. We are presently looking for resources for the same, and so, public private participation will ensure that these investments come in from the private sector.

The New Delhi station, for instance, is going to be developed into an international railway station with airport-like infrastructure. Presently, New Delhi’s East and West are completely isolated from each other. So we are bringing in road connectivity to have the East and West stations well connected. We also want to develop the station as a commercial hub in addition to the infrastructure requirements. It should take about four years from the RFQ date. We have already prepared the documents for RFQs and have submitted them to the Railways. As soon as the COVID situation comes under control, we will be coming up with the RFQ and expect to complete work by 2024. The New Delhi station involves about Rs 5,000 crore of mandatory development, including concourse for arrivals and departures, commercial space over the station, relocation of railway offices and others to make way for the commercial space planned, etc. The total cost of construction will be about Rs 7,000 crore.

Design plan for New Delhi: The plan is to first go for a DPR, after which the consultant will come out with a master plan. This will be a concept plan in terms of the mandated development needed, wherein the area for commercial development, etc, will be earmarked. The developer will then have the independence to design it as per his convenience.

As far as architectural elements are concerned, New Delhi is close to Connaught Place, which has been a constraint for the development of the New Delhi Station in the past. What we have now envisaged is for the East and West to be connected by passing through the Connaught Place, so that the Connaught Place is not overburdened with this new development. This is a major shift in the concept. As mentioned, the New Delhi station will see an airport-like development with arrivals and departures having different lounges and concourses; it will have a food court and all other commercial activities. The total area for development is 110 acre, and the mandatory development for the built-up area is about 5 lakh sq m; while the space for commercial development that we are offering to the developer where he can build commercial space, offices, retail malls, hotels, etc, will be of 2.6 lakh sq m. The date for opening of bids for this project’s consultant is May 26, and we hoping to select the consultant by first week of June.

Online bidding process during COVID: Speaking about the experience of bidding online, whenever something bad happens there is a challenge, but at the same time, there is an opportunity as well. So while COVID is a challenge, it is also an opportunity to communicate with people through Internet. So we could convert this challenge into an opportunity. We conducted a conference with all the renowned architectural consultants of India as well as around the world, even from Australia, participating in this. Overall, it was a good experience.

62 stations to be developed: We are already working on preparation of DPRs for all the 62 stations. This year, RLDA and IRSDC have targeted to bring out 50 stations for bidding. Once the consultant completes work, we will then invite developers to build as per the plan.

Railway colonies and commercial plots: We have been entrusted 84 such railway colonies across the country. Railway colonies are spread out in all the major towns of the country and we are utilising very small space as compared to the principle built-up space as per the local DCR norms. So we will be leveraging this extra space, which is unutilised FAR, for redeveloping our colonies. And the excess FAR will be given to the developers for his exploitation. In lieu of that, he will develop the colonies, plus give us a lease premium. So we have 84 such colonies and have already come out with bits for two colonies in Hyderabad and one in Guwahati, while more are in the pipeline.

Further, we have 74 commercial plots, surplus land, where no other assets are available – they are more or less greenfield plots. We are offering these to different developers on an open and transparent bidding system on an upfront lease premium. They can construct offices, hotels, colonies, flats, etc, here. We recently have given one such plot in Delhi’s Ashok Vihar of about 10.7 hectare land to Godrej Properties through an open bidding process for about Rs 1,359 crore of lease premium, which is payable in eight instalments over seven years along with the interest thereon. Of these 74 properties, we have already bid out about 21 properties and more are in the pipeline. In 2019, despite the slowdown in real estate, we could make sort of a record for RLDA – we bid out about nine properties of around Rs 1,553 crore for RLDA. When we talked to a lot of developers, many of them were not willing to take risks of huge investments in major towns. So we then tried to focus on Tier-2 cities where demand exists and small plots are there, so that something comes out of it. We also came out with this Ashok Vihar bid which was quite successful.

Overcoming COVID: Prior to COVID itself, the market sentiment was down, and COVID has further added to this. But we are quite hopeful that as soon as the COVID-19 is over, we will come out with more offerings to the market. In fact, we have got investment opportunities for even small investors along with large investors. We are also into multifunctional complexes, where we are giving small plots of 500-1,000 sq m to small investors where they can build essential facilities such as small shopping complexes or restaurants or budget hotels of 50-100 rooms. We are already developing some 55 multi-functional complexes, about 11 have already been commissioned and they are functioning well. So we will be coming with more such offerings.

Watch the full video to know more on what Ved Parkash Dudeja has to say on the opportunities, and plans...

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