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Indian Railways offering retail space

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The Indian Railways is soon going to offer around 4,800 hectares of land to retail and logistics companies to set up retail outlets, agri-retail infrastructure and warehouses. Around 3,000 sites have already been identified by the railways across the country for the purpose.

According to an official from the Rail Bhawan, “Companies will have to provide a minimum traffic guarantee to the railways in a quid pro quo for real estate.”

According to the retail policies that have been finalised by Indian Railways, the zonal railways will be asked to explore options of agri-retail infrastructure on identified sites.

The policy further stated that the lands will be given to the retailers on a 10-year lease agreement. Moreover, to avoid any monopoly, vacant land at one station will not be given to a single company. The policy also proposes to provide ideal remunerative price for farmers’ produce that rots at times due to lack of proper storage facilities and transportation.

The Indian Railways is also considering retailers’ proposal to create a refrigerated rail link between agri hubs in order to transport perishable agri commodities. The hubs will be created in non-metro stations, facilitating transportation of agri products using the rail network and providing for their sale at the local level. For every hub, retailers will enter into a joint venture with the railways. The railways will have land as their equity in JVs.

The Rail Vikas Nigam will float the tender inviting expression of interest from corporate houses and co-operative institutions. According to sources in the industry, Reliance, Future Group, ITC, Tata, AV Birla Group and GE Logistics are interested in railway land, and are believed to be in talks with the Indian Railways.

In February, Indiaretailing had reported that Parsvnath Developers Ltd and Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd (IBREL) had jointly submitted a request for qualification (RFQ) to the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) for developing commercial complexes.

The companies are bidding for ten prime location plots being offered by the Indian Railways for commercial development across various cities that include Delhi, Kanpur, Gwalior, Visakhapatnam, Kolkata and Bengaluru.

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