PPPAC gives in-principle approval for the development of world-class railway station at Surat, Udhana.

Surat : After five long years, the much-awaited redevelopment of Surat and Udhana railway stations on public private partnership (PPP) mode into the Multi-Modal Transportation Hub (MMTH) may gather steam this year.

The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) under the Ministry of Finance has given in principle approval to the redevelopment project of the Surat railway station. Accordingly, the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) has invited Request for Quotation (RFQ) to be floated in tender.

Raj Kumar Singh, director (projects and planning), IRSDC on Saturday tweeted “I am happy to inform that PPPAC has approved Surat railway station redevelopment project in principle. Accordingly IRSDC has invited RFQ. Help us in bringing good developers for this very important project”

It was on August 17, 2016 that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the formation of SPV was signed by Indian Railways, Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) and Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) for the redevelopment of Surat railway station at an estimated cost of Rs 5,000 crore.

Sailing their boats in the sand for three years, it came to light of the railway authorities that the construction of four 66-floor buildings would never transform into reality, as the proposed land falls in the funnel area of the Surat airport where the maximum height obtained would be 107 meters or 33-floors.

Sitting ducks in the project from the last five years—the project was envisaged to be completed in 10 years—the PPPAC’s decision to give in-principle approval to the Surat redevelopment project is seen as a big move for transforming it into a reality.

A senior IRSDC officer told TBT, “The project coast for Suratt MMTH as per the estimates prepared in 2018 stands at Rs 895 crore. The plans for the MMTH have already been approved by all stakeholders including Western Railway (WR), GSRTC and SMC”

Sources said that the RFQ was called on September 9, 2019. However, the same was withdrawn due to changes in the PPP tendering process done by the Government of India.

Rajesh Modi of the Surat Railway Station Development Forum (SRSDF) told TBT, “The principle approval of PPPAC was awaited for a long time. Now, once the RFQ is issued, the work on the redevelopment of Surat railway station would start. I think the appointment of Surat MP Darshana Jardosh has turned out to be a good omen for Surat’s MMTH project”