Land Development under Indian Railways- Ongoing Projects (Part 3 of 4)

RLDA is a statutory Authority that is set-up by an Amendment to the Railways Act, 1989. It aims to develop vacant land under Indian Railways for commercial use in order to generate revenue by non-tariff measures. Indian Railways (IR) has approximately 52,000 hectares of vacant land. It concerns with the land that is not required for operational purposes in the foreseeable future. The land gets identified by the zonal railways and the details are thereof would be advised to Railway Board. Thereafter, such parcels of land get entrusted to RLDA by Railway Board in phases for commercial development.

Railway Land Development Authority operates on Railway Land Development Authority (Development of Land and other works) regulations, 2012. It has the following provisions:

  1. Identification and Entrustment of Railway Land- which includes identifying the land, and reviewing the entrusted land
  2. Terms and Conditions of Development of Railway Land- which deals with legal procedures such as written agreement of use, transfer of ownership, local master plan and building bye-laws, leasing, setting of prices, guarantee, escrow account etc.
  3. Procedure for development- which entails identification of developers, market and feasibility studies, tenders etc.
  4. General provisions- which focus on development works, execution of projects, role of consultancies and instances of demolition and redevelopment.

The role of RLDA is in consonance with Zonal as well as Divisional Railways. The center details out the need of development, the Zonal Railways ensure the clear titling of the land, the Zonal Railways ensure the land use compatibility, and RLDA proposes various developments that can take place. The finalized use is registered by the Divisional Railways pending the approval demarcation jointly signed by RLDA and Zonal Railways.

Under the act, RLDA is supposed to take forward the development under the categories of four kinds of development namely, Commercial development, Multi-functional complexes, colony redevelopment, station development. The actual development on ground is however, stagnant till date. Station redevelopment has been started in some of the tier-1 and tier-2 cities like New Delhi and Raipur.

The following section demarcates the locations identified by RLDA for these concerned uses.

Identified development project areas

Indian Railways has approximately forty-seven thousand hectares of vacant land. The land that is not required for operational purposes in the foreseeable future is demarcated. It is subsequently entrusted to RLDA for commercial development. In India, RLDA has identified various sites for commercial development on land parcels. The following figure shows the identified locations of these sites across India:

Areas identified for commercial development by RLDA

RLDA commercial

Source: (Projects- RLDA, 2019)

RLDA has given the responsibility of developing multi-functional complexes (MFCs) through private sectors. MFCs are thought to provide various facilities like shopping, restaurants, stalls, ATMs, medical stores, budget hotels, parking spaces and other similar amenities to rail users under one roof.  Sites are thought to be offered on upfront lease or revenue sharing through MOU to PSUs and through open bidding process to private sector. The following figure shows the tentative locations of the MFCs across India:

Areas identified for multi-functional complex development by RLDA


Source: (Projects- RLDA, 2019)

Railway Stations and Railway Colonies are generally located in heart of cities having potential to develop real estate to fund redevelopment of railway colonies are more than 50-60 years old & quarters in these colonies are in dilapidated conditions having outlived useful functional life. The identified areas of colony redevelopment are in prime areas in heart of cities and are thought to be financially viable on PPP mode as these colonies have unutilized FSI. These are:

Areas identified for colony re-development by RLDA

RLDA Colony

Source: (Projects- RLDA, 2019)

The scheme of station redevelopment is in synergy with Smart City Project of govt. of India. The entire cost of station redevelopment is to be met by leveraging commercial development of spare railway land in and around the station. The facilities proposed include congestion free entry/exit to the station premises, adequate concourse, integration with other modes of transport system like bus, metro, user-friendly signage etc. The identified stations are:

Areas identified for station development by RLDA

RLDA Station

Source: (Projects- RLDA, 2019)

The hypothesis of developing the land is based on the ideologies of RLDA.

Indian Railways, under the Ministry of Railways (GoI), is the rail transport organization of India. IR is the largest rail network in Asia, and second largest in the world. Apart from Railway Land Development Authority, the board has several autonomous organizations for research and development. These are:

The Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) is a research and development organization that acts as a technical adviser and consultant to the Railway Board, Zonal Railways, Production Units, for designing and standardization of equipment and further, problems related to railway construction, operation and maintenance.

The Computerization & Information Systems Directorate of Railway Board is the nodal Directorate which is responsible for the implementation of all projects on Indian Railways, that are charged to plan head Computerization.

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is an autonomous organization established under the Ministry of Railways. It develops and manages the applications of Information Technology (IT) for the Indian Railways. CRIS is also responsible for providing IT for non-Railway Government and Public Sector organizations.

Centre for Railway Research (CRR) was set up at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur based on the MoU signed between the Ministry of Railways, Government of India and Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur to develop a long-term framework for research collaboration.