World Bank to finance Indian station upgrades

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The World Bank has agreed to provide a $500 million seed capital loan with a seven-year repayment moratorium to kick-start Indian Railways' (IR) station redevelopment program, which will be financed through a combination of intergovernmental agreements and public-private partnerships.

IR has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with French National Railways (SNCF) concerning the redevelopment of Ambala and Ludhiana stations in the north, while talks for similar agreements are unde rway with potential partner railways from Australia, Belgium, Germany, and China.

Draft tender documents for the modernization of 400 category A1 and A stations were published on IR’s website last month, and bids for the first group of stations will be submitted in June.

Over the past two years, IR has signed MoUs with railways in 14 countries, and several rounds of discussions have been held on station modernization strategies have been completed. The South Korean government has reportedly offered to invest $754.7 milliion in the redevelopment of New Delhi station.

Last year IR established the Station Development Corporation and recruited officials from two public sector bodies to manage activities.

As the program involves multi-departmental and multi-sectoral cooperation, the Indian government has decided to set up a new and independent body to undertake station redevelopment projects. This organization will not be headed by an IR official and will have representatives of all stakeholders in the execution and management of projects.

In recent months the World Bank has held several workshops and meetings on India’s station re-development potential, highlighting examples of successful station projects elsewhere in the world.





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