As a special purpose vehicle (SPV), the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDCL) is responsible for executing the largest transit-oriented development (TOD) programme globally for 600 railway stations. Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, Managing Director & CEO, IRSDCL emphasises that all care will be taken to ensure that developer interest is well-protected and that redeveloped stations become iconic symbols of the cities they serve.
The second concern of developers is in terms of environmental clearances. We take all approvals prior to bidding out. In fact, when the developer of the Habibganj project approached lenders for raising debt, the comment from the Indian Infrastructure Finance Company (IIFCL) was that they had never seen a better project since all the clearances were already in place. We are also working on raising an equity fund to provide developers with access to cheaper finance. Another very good development that has happened is in terms of the extension of the lease period on land from 45 to 99 years. The longer the period, the lesser is the risk for a developer. The Railway Board has allowed multiple sub-leases of the built-up area. It has allowed residential development. If it is only a single type of development, then the risk is more. But if it is a mixed-use development, the mix is left to the developer as per the market demand. In fact, the Ministry of Finance has also included station redevelopment along with commercial development under the list of infrastructure projects. That will help facilitate cheaper finance for the developer.
- Manish Pant