Indian Railways joins forces with the Army to develop railways stations in border areas

In a strategic move, the Railway Ministry has joined hands with the Indian Army to develop railway stations that see heavy movement of defence forces. Prominent railway stations in border areas and those connecting military cantonments will be developed by the Army, keeping in mind their requirements. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has discussed the proposal with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has given the consent. Major railway stations like Pathankot, Jammu Tawi, Mhow, Agra Cant, Jabalpur, Ambala, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Barmer, Jodhpur have heavy movement of army men involved in mobilization of troops and ammunition. “I have spoken to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in this regard. Parrikar has given his consent to the proposal; the matter will be taken up further,” Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu said. Official sources said the engineering wing of the Indian Army may soon conduct a survey of such strategic stations. The Indian Railway Station Development Corporation and Rail Land Development will assist the Army in the survey. As well as the Army becoming a partner in the ambitious station redevelopment project, the stations will also have adequate infrastructure for the Army’s needs and requirements. “Many of the Railway stations cater to mobilization of troops and ammunition. If the Army takes up redevelopment of these stations, they can create infrastructure that suits their purpose,” a senior official said. The Minister said that as well as the Army, four other funding partners have been worked out to redevelop the railway stations. These include partnership with private parties (PPP), country-to-country cooperation, financial assistance from the World Bank, and joint ventures with the state governments. Indian Railways has chalked out a plan to redevelop 400 stations into world-class stations. Habibganj terminal in Bhopal is the first to be developed on the PPP model, the pact for which was signed on Thursday. Recently, a team of French experts inspected the New Delhi railway station. France has already taken up the redevelopment of Ambala and Ludhiana railway stations. “The World Bank has given in-principal approval for Rs 500 million loan for station redevelopment. The PSUs of Indian Railways like IRCON, IRSDC and RLDA can utilise the money to execute the project,” Prabhu said.........Read more

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