Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
On 29th September 2022 the government sanctioned Rs. 10,000 crores for the redevelopment of the New Delhi, Ahmedabad and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Tenuis (CSMT, Mumbai) stations.
The railway minister stated that the redevelopment will be done on the engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) model. This means the government will spend money for modernising the stations and will appoint for doing the job. He said that this was being done instead of the PPP (public private partnership) model. This is to ensure that there is no additional burden on passengers using these stations. He said, “Railways cater to the middle class and lower middle class so any extra burden on passengers is not good…It is a conscious decision to redevelop all these stations in the EPC mode.” The PPP model would have amounted to privatisation of the station. The private company would invest money to modernise it and charge fees or rent to use the station facilities.
If anyone thought that the government has suddenly become very caring as far as working people are considered, the following piece of news would tell them that nothing has really changed. Like the previous government, ever since the policy of globalisation through privatisation and liberalisation was launched by the Congress government in accordance with the orders of Indian and foreign monopolies, every government tries its best to serve them by implementing the policy. At the same time, every government tries to convince the people that it has the people’s interests at heart, though its actions repeatedly show the opposite.
In an action that is completely at variance with what the railway minister said, it now comes out that 16 station including Nizamuddin (in New Delhi), Old Delhi, Pune, Coimbatore, Bangalore City, Pune, Chennai Central, Baroda, Bhopal, Dadar (in Mumbai) and Kalyan (near Mumbai) are to be developed via PPP model. In case of the redevelopment of stations at New Delhi, CSMT Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the railway minister admitted that the PPP model will put additional burden on passenger because which they are the not adopting the PPP model.
Why will the redevelopment of these 16 stations through the PPP model not put additional burden on the passenger using these stations?
Further all efforts are being made to help private companies instead of looking after interests of passengers. A railway official came out with the statement, “……different monetisation models are under consideration to attract private investment.”
What could be clearer than that? It is obvious that more the expected profit, greater will be the attractiveness for private investment! Passengers will pay for it.