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Real estate czars in a rush for development of Railway land

Publication: Business Line
Date: January 31, 2008

Railway land has emerged as hot property with real estate majors such as DLF, Emaar MGF and Unitech lining up to commercially exploit the land on offer. Over 20 real estate companies have bid for developing each of the 10 locations for which Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) had recently invited technical qualification bids.
About 250 bids have been received for developing the 10 sites, said sources in the know declining to divulge exact details. Wednesday was the last date for accepting bids for these sites.
Housing, hotels
Developers can exploit the land by building group housing societies, hotels and other commercial properties. For group housing purposes, Railways plans to lease out the land for about 90 years while for other commercial use the land would be on lease for 30 years.
Out of the 10 locations, RLDA has invited bids for group housing at seven locations that include Delhi, Kanpur, Visakhapatnam and some sites in and around Kolkata. Other sites up for grabs in the current lot include Bangalore and Gwalior.
“The who’s who of the real estate sector has bid for the projects,” said sources. The bidders include DLF, Emaar MGF, Unitech, Omaxe and Parsvnath Developers. Having received the technical bids, RLDA would now carry out the technical qualification process. Financial bids would then be invited from the technically qualified players.
Incidentally, the authority has almost finalised the financial bid document with help from IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDC). IL&FS IDC would also be advising RLDA on bid selection.
Non-traffic revenues
RLDA was set up through an act of Parliament to generate non-traffic revenues for Indian Railways by exploiting the potential of vacant rail land. Indian Railways has already handed over 108 sites of various sizes across the country to RLDA for commercial development. Depending on the size of land, RLDA would invite bids for leasing out the land to developers for various purposes that include hotels, warehouses, commercial development and group housing.
RLDA has finalised a panel of consultants comprising Jones Lang Lasalle Meghraj, PwC, Ernst & Young, IL&FS IDC, IDFC and Feedback Ventures who would prepare the feasibility report for other sites.

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