With an aim of generating additional revenue through non-tariff measures, railways have sought Cabinet approval to go ahead with its ambitious plan of commercial utilisation of land.
Though railways had decided to construct multi-functional complexes (MFC) at stations as well as redevelop passenger terminals as world class stations in the PPP mode, the plan had come unstuck as it involved long-term leasing of land.
"The long-term leasing of land requires Cabinet approval and without it we cannot go ahead with construction of MFC or world class station," said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with PPP projects.
Besides the proposal for 50 world class stations, railways have decided to construct 198 MFCs at stations across the country.
The complexes will provide rail users with facilities like shops, food stalls, restaurants, book stalls, PCO booths, ATMs, medicine and variety stores, budget hotels and parking facilities among others.
"The aim is to upgrade amenities for rail users in cities having tourist and religious importance by way of developing the land/air space at railway stations," said the official, adding, "the MFC projects will generate additional revenue for railways."
However, since the Cabinet approval is mandatory for any project involving leasing of government land, railways is preparing a Cabinet note for the purpose.
"The note is being circulated to various other ministries seeking their views on the subject and we hope that a final draft will be prepared by next month to be put up before Cabinet for approval," he said.
Railway Minister Mukul Roy along with Chairman Railway Board Vinay Mittal had recently met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss the issue involving PPP projects.