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Gujurat Govt, Railways ink pact to develop Surat station

PTI |

The Railways, Gujarat government and Surat Municipal Corporation have signed an agreement to develop Surat station under the Public Private Partnership model.

This tri-party agreement was signed here on Wednesday in the presence of Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Surat mayor Asmita Siroya.

Prabhu told reporters that private investment is the best way to expedite the upgradration of railway stations in the country.

"This station will be India’s first and distinctive railway station upon it’s completion. It will also have a multilayer park having a slew of facilities, which are usually found in airports. I am sure that it will turn out to be a tourist destination," the Minister said.

"This project will be carried out under PPP model, as the government alone can not bear all the expenditure. If we do so, we have to raise taxes to collect the required capital.

Thus, the best way is to involve private players. For this project, 36 business entities have already shown their interest," said Prabhu.

The Minister further talked on increasing non-railway income to boost development in the railway sector.

"We have only two income options at present- freight and passenger fares. In Japan, one third of railway income comes from non-railway operations. We need to understand and incorporate such business model to raise funds.

"After Surat, we are planning to develop Gandhinagar station and many other (stations) across India," Prabhu added.