Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Rani Kamlapati Railway Station in Bhopal on 15 November. The name of this station was the earlier Habibganj railway station, which has now been changed to Rani Kamlapati. It has been built on a PPP model with world-class facilities like an airport.
Built on the lines of Germany’s Heidelberg station
Habibganj station has been redeveloped on the lines of Heidelberg railway station in Germany. Its responsibility has been given to Bansal Pathway Private Limited. The project has been designed by the company’s project director, Abu Asif. According to him, the concept plan of Habibganj station has been taken from Heidelberg station in Germany, but its design is not like Heidelberg station.
In a conversation with The Spot News 18, Abu Asif said”
“We have got two concepts from Heidelberg station. The first is passenger segregation. Meaning the routes for passengers boarding and disembarking the train have been made separately.
The second concept is a single point, where all kinds of facilities will be available to the passengers. These include facilities like cinema, hotel, food, shopping, hospital. All this will happen within a radius of just 100 meters”.
From super speciality hospital to 5-star hotel
Corporate buildings and mini shopping malls are being constructed towards platform number one of Rani Kamlapati railway station. This mall will have hotels, retail spaces and cinemas. The corporate building will have the offices of the companies. A super speciality hospital and a 5-star hotel are being built just 100 meters away from the platform.
According to Abu Asif, the concept of a multi-motor transport hub has also been adopted in the new design. That is, there will be connectivity between the railway station, bus and metro station. One hundred sixty cameras have been installed in the entire station for security purposes.
How much money was spent on redevelopment?
The total cost of redevelopment of this station with state-of-the-art facilities is being said to be Rs 450 crore. In this, about 100 crore rupees have been spent so far developing railway station and terminal. Apart from this, it will cost about 350 crores to build a corporate building, mini shopping mall, super speciality hospital and 5-star hotel.
Questions raised regarding parking charges?
In 2018, when the station was being redeveloped by a private company – Bansal Pathway Pvt Ltd – it increased the parking charges at the station manifold. Due to this, the parking rates here have become such that knowing that the soul of the commoner should tremble. After the hike, the monthly pass fee for the bike/scooter was Rs 5,000, and for the car was Rs 16,000.
Similarly, for two hours, instead of Rs 5, Rs 15 was charged for parking a bike/scooter and Rs 40 instead of Rs 10 was set for a car. The charge used to increase after every two hours, and in this way, the amount of two-wheeler for 24 hours reached Rs 235, and the cost of four-wheeler reached Rs 590. However, after a dispute over this, the company reduced the rent somewhat.
Car parking charges are still high.
The Spot News 18 also spoke to the redevelopment project director, Abu Asif, about the current parking charges. He said that there is no charge for parking the vehicle for the first 15 minutes at this time.
After this, Rs 10 is charged for every two hours of bike/scooter and Rs 20 for parking the car. He also said that the monthly pass is now made for Rs 999 for the bike/scooter and Rs 4,999 for the car.
What is the reason for the high car parking charges?
Such a rule regarding parking and the reason for the high parking charge of the car has been told by Bansal Pathway. Explaining the reason behind this, Abu Asif said”
“Such a rule has been made because earlier (due to low rates) people used to park their cars here and go for vacation. It had become like a city parking lot. Those who were not railway users also used to park their cars here and leave.
When we started developing on PPP model, this problem came in front of Railways. After that, we followed ‘National Urban Transport Policy. One of the clauses of this policy states that if you make parking at a prime location of railway or city, then the parking revenue should be equal to the rent of that place “e”.
“Such a place is worth crores of rupees, but its rent (from parking) comes only 10 to 20 thousand rupees in a month. It is considered a national loss in revenue. This clause has been added to the policy so that there is no loss… Although if you see, the parking charges of Kamlapati station are not high, they are perfect for the users of railways.
It is free for the first 15 minutes after that only 10 and 20 rupees will have to be paid for two hours. If you are a railway user, then in such a time you can quickly drop or bring anyone to the station”.
Will food and drink be expensive at this grand railway station?
It is being said about Kamlapati railway station that it has been made like an airport. In such a situation, some people’s minds question whether the prices of food items available on its platform will be higher than other stations. We also asked this question to project director Abu Asif. They said”
“This is not true at all. The prices of all food items on the platform of Kamlapati station will be the same, which have been fixed by the railways at stations across the country. However, the terminal we have built here will be where the big food brands will put up their counters. They will sell their things according to their own accord.”
How will ‘Bansal Pathway’ recover its cost?
The Spot News 18 also spoke to other officials of Bansal Pathway. He said that so much money is being spent on this project, due to which questions like everything becoming expensive are coming into the people’s minds.
People think that if things and facilities are not expensive, how will a company investing crores of rupees get its money back and profit? Responding to such questions, the officials said that Bansal Pathway would recover its cost incurred in this project from the rent of cinema hall, hospital and mall.