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Indian Planning Commission has estimated a requirement of Rs 2,027,169 crores (US $ 494 Billion) as investment in infrastructure during the Eleventh Plan period. Of this, the requirement for Railways is anticipated as Rs 2,80,000 crores (including Rs 30,000 crores only for the Dedicated Freight Corridor). As much as Rs 2,32,400 crores (83%) of this requirement is expected to be met by investment from the public sector.[1]

The need for considerable increase in internal generation of resources for such investment had been realized by the Indian Railways a long time back. However, focused efforts in this direction commenced in 2001 when the idea of setting-up a special purpose vehicle to generate non-tariff revenues through commercial exploitation of railway land took shape. The efforts culminated in the constitution of Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) on 1.11.2006.

RLDA is a statutory Authority under the Ministry of Railways, Government of India, set-up by an Amendment to the Indian Railways Act, 1989, for development of vacant Railway Land for commercial use for the purpose of generating revenue by non-tariff measures. The Rules for functioning of RLDA, called RLDA (Constitution) Rules, 2007, have also been notified on 4.1.2007.

The Executive Board of RLDA consists of Member Engineering/Indian Railways Board as ex-officio Chairman, one Vice Chairman and four Members. Vice Chairman and other Members (except Member/Real Estate) took charge of their posts in January 2007.

Indian Railways (IR) has approximately 43,000 hectares of vacant land. Land which is not required for operational purposes in the foreseeable future would be identified by the zonal railways and the details thereof would be advised to Railway Board. Such plots of land would thereafter be handed over to RLDA by Railway Board in phases for commercial development. The first lot of 13 sites was entrusted to RLDA for commercial development by Ministry of Railways in February 2007. 10 out of these 13 sites are expected to come up for financial bidding shortly. So far (as on 22.2.2008), 109 plots of land have been entrusted to RLDA by the Ministry of Railways.[2]

Commercial development of vacant railway land by RLDA would generally involve the following steps:
a) Inspection of the sites entrusted by Railway Ministry to ensure that these are free from any encumbrances/encroachments and are prima-facie suitable to commercial development.
b) Getting a survey done for each individual plot of land from a reputed real estate consultant, to identify the use of the land which results in maximum revenue.
c) Based on the commercial use decided, to call for an expression of interest/request for proposals from developers for commercial development through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) route, and
d) Selecting a suitable developer based on laid down technical and financial parameters, after calling for financial bids from the short-listed developers.

RLDA’s expenses are met out of grants provided by Indian Railways. The entire earnings generated from development of railway land would be transferred by RLDA to Indian Railways.

References

  1. ^ Consultation Paper on Projections of Investment in Infrastructure during the Eleventh Plan: Planning Commission (October 2007)
  2. ^ RLDA Website

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