Progress on Rs1 trillion Indian railway overhaul
BDP appointed to framework while Hafeez Contractor pledges pro bono design
In late 2017, the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) issued a global request for consultants to prepare masterplans and concept designs for 400 state-of-the-art stations across the country. BDP, together with local partner DDF Consultants, have now announced their appointment to the framework as one of three consultants in the highest category, which includes major projects of a complex nature as well as landmark stations of strategic importance. Peter Jenkins, head of transport sector, said: “This is a very satisfying result for us, testament to the efforts made by the team during a gruelling selection process. We look forward to working on projects where we can combine our UK station design experience with the local knowledge of our colleagues in Delhi.”
The appointment follows close on the news that Hafeez Contractor has offered to design 19 stations free of charge, responding to an open invitation issued by IRSDC for pro bono concept development. The architect explained that he sees the work as an opportunity to help his home country and set a high design standard for the stations, in move to counter a sacrifice in quality that may occur through the selection of lowest-cost bids.
More empanelment decisions will be announced soon, and there are sure to be further tenders issued for related development work. A look at the Tenderstream archive reveals another recent international design contest to decide the new look of Nagpur, Gwalior and Baiyyappanahalli railway stations.
Meanwhile, the decision-making process behind the redevelopments continues to evolve. The government plans to monetise 2,700 acres of land owned by the Railways and invest around Rs1 trillion of the proceeds into the station upgrades. The development policy was revised after a tender for 23 stations raised concern from companies including Tata group, Shapoorji Pallonji, GMR and Larsen & Toubro. The new policy reserves 20 per cent of station-owned premises for residential purposes, while the remaining 80 per cent is dedicated to commercial use.
The finance ministry and government think tank NITI Aayog recently questioned the December 2017 decision to put the station redevelopments under IRSDC jurisdiction, stating that one agency would be under-equipped to deal with the vast scope of the project, which has since increased from 400 to 600 stations. The railways will approach the Cabinet next month with a proposal to give more financial independence to the IRSDC.
TenderStream Research Specialist & Editor
The request for consultants was first published on 10.01.2018. See the original brief here
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