Rail Land Development Authority yet to develop 47 vacant sites, says panel
NEW DELHI: A parliamentary committee has found that out of 47 vacant land sites selected by Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), not a single site has been commercially developed as yet.
Railway Convention Committee in its latest report observed that so far 60 sites measuring about 590 hectares 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.
However, the committee headed by BJD MP Bhartuhari Mahatab has found that not a single site out of the 47 sites identified by RLDA itself has actually been commercially developed as yet due to slump in the real estate sector, availability of free hold property in major cities where most of the commercial sites are located and inordinate long time taken for obtaining the change of land use.
What has concerned the committee more is the reported reluctance on the part of some state governments to cooperate with the RLDA.
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.
The committee has impressed upon the 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.
Such commercial licencing with the zonal railways has fetched approximately Rs 1300 crore during 2014-15 to the Railways and during the 2015-16 it was expected to exceed that amount.
The committee has felt that apart from entrusting vacant land with zonal railways to RLDA for commercial licencing is a step in right direction as is corroborated from the substantial revenue generated annually.
The committee has therefore, encouraged the Railways to continue their endeavours and explore possibilities of entering into more such commercial licencing with the zonal railways with a view to mobilising more financial resources for railways.
The committee, much to its chagrin, was found that in a number of cases the sites entrusted to RLDA were not found suitable for commercial development after feasibility study.
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.