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Railway Stations to be Privatized for Better Passenger Facilities

Contracts given to different firms will now be centralized by National Building Construction Corporation. The SP has attacked BJP for favoring capitalists in this move.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18.com@qazifarazahmad

Updated:March 6, 2019, 5:58 PM IST

Lucknow: The Indian Railways have moved one step forward in what may be termed as privatization of the railway stations under the Northern Railways. As per information only railway tickets and operations will remain with the railway authorities, rest from platform tickets to food courts and parking area to advertising rights, all will be given to private entity in lieu of services like escalators, lounges and other modern facilities for passengers at the platforms.

At the moment two railway stations Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Habibganj in Bhopal (MP) are already being developed under a similar arrangement. The Charbagh(Lucknow), Chandigarh, Haridwar and Panipat stations will be developed in a similar way in next the 24 months. The meeting NBCC and railway authorities to discuss these projects are scheduled next week.

Speaking to News18, GM Northern Railway, TP Singh said, “It will be incorrect to call it privatization, rather this should be called as station development. Some extra facilities will be created under this scheme by exploiting some areas commercially. This is nothing new and has been successfully done before too.”

“Earlier we used to give parking contracts, advertising contracts, etc to different people, now this will be centralized by the National Building Construction Corporation and given to one firm in return of better and improved facilities for passengers on railway stations. The meetings for taking this project further will be held next week and work on it will start soon. Ticketing and operations will remain with the railways,” he added.

However, the Samajwadi Party has attacked BJP over this move and has alleged that BJP has been favoring capitalists. The Akhilesh Yadav led party has also termed BJP as ‘Bhartiya Privatisation Party’.

Speaking on the issue, Samajwadi Party Spokesperson, Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said, “BJP has always been in favour of privatization and disinvestment of public sector. In the previous NDA government too various profit-making PSUs were sold to private entities. Recently the BJP led NDA gave five airports to Adani for 50 years. Now they are doing the same with the railway stations in the name of development.”

Gandhi added that the BJP's sole intention is to give back to those friends who helped the party in 2014. "I charge BJP of brazen privatization of public sector entities neglecting the public interest," Gandhi said, further adding that they are least bothered about the small businessmen who will be affected badly due to this privatization."

Higher costs of travel due to this privatization drive will only have to born by the passenger in the end, declared Gandhi.

| Edited by: Aditya Sharma
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