"A railway station is the beginning point of any city. It is also a place in the city which attracts maximum footfalls and eyeballs," says Suresh Prabhu
Around 400 railway stations across the country will be revamped into iconic structures as a station is a starting point of any city and attracts maximum footfalls, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday.
"We are making plans to redevelop 400 stations as new icons of cities. The process has already been started in this regard," the minister said at the Smart City conference here.
He said the government has taken steps to develop 100 cities as 'Smart Cities' in the country and since stations are the beginning of any city, they will also be developed as "smart stations".
"A railway station is the beginning point of any city. It is also a place in the city which attracts maximum footfalls and eyeballs," he said.
With private participation, Railways is planning to re-develop 400 major stations to provide improved passengers amenities, he said.
Habibganj station in Bhopal will be taken up first and then eight more stations will also be re-developed shortly, he said.
"The discussion and pre-bidding process are on. It will be done in a transparent manner in partnership with private players," the minister said.
He said that railway stations will have better facilities than airports.
"So we will not only have Smart City but also smart stations," he said.
Referring to migration to cities, Prabhu said, "Like China, massive urbanisation has taken place in India. Millions have migrated to cities. People migrate because of jobs, opportunities and better facilities in cities. So we need smart ideas to make a city better."
"So one has to plan accordingly. It needs transportation planning. We need smart transportation," he said.