NEW DELHI: With Indian Railways facing a financial crunch and looking for extra budgetary resources, a parliamentary committee report found that the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), set up for commercial development of vacant railway land to mobilize additional resources, has not been able to develop a single land since 2007.
The Railway Convention Committee in its report said that so far 60 sites measuring about 590 hectare of land have been identified and entrusted to RLDA for commercial development, out of which 47 sites have been selected by them for this purpose.
The committee expressed its anguish that not a single site, out of 47 sites identified by RLDS itself, has actually been commercially developed as yet to due to slump in the real estate sector, availability of free hold property in major cities where most of the commercials cities are located and inordinately long time taken for obtaining the change of land use.
What concerned the committee more is the reported reluctance on the part of some state governments to cooperate with the Railways. The committee has stressed that the non-development of a single site commercially till date has tended to negate the very purpose of setting up of RLDA as such.
Calling for Railways to sort out the systematic deficiencies and take initiatives for urgent corrective measures, including requisite coordination with the state governments so as to enable RLDA to succeed in its ventures and mobilise additional financial resources for the Railways.
The committee noted that almost 3899 hectares of vacant land is under commercial licencing with the zonal railways for sliding connectivity, catering units, goods and it has fetched approximately Rs 1300 crore during 2014-15 to the Railways.
The committee suggested for innovative measures to attract developers to participate in the commercial development of vacant land which would enable mobilisation of increased financial resources for the Railways.
Railway has already set up a separate directorate to look into the extra budgetary resources including monetizing of land and other commercial spaces to get revenue.