The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) has barred hospitality companies from bidding for redevelopment of railway stations. This has prompted the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) to write to the railways ministry and request that the selection criteria be broadened to include “experienced players” from the hospitality industry.
In a letter to the ministry, HRANI wrote that the request for proposal (RFP) does not allow service providers from hospitality industry to participate in the bidding process. “We might approach the railways minister’s office against the IRSDC if our request is not heard,” said an industry executive, who did not wish to be identified.
HRANI had sent a representation to railways to provide an opportunity to hotels to maintain railway stations and ease tendering and provide a level playing field to the hospitality industry. In its letter addressed to the railway board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav, HRANI said: “Station development, management, and maintenance exercise is for a perpetual period and the envisaged structure speaks of a 60 years concession in favour of private developers and construction companies and private operators with experience in managing and maintenance of similar infrastructure… requesting you to broaden the base of the selection criteria to attract service oriented, resourceful and experienced players from the hospitality industry.
The association further said the clause 2.2 of the RFP does not recognise service providers from the hospitality industry for participation in the bidding process and that its members are geared up for participation in bids for development of railway stations. It said this would be the case provided due emphasis is built in the RFP documents for service providers with expertise in operations, management and maintenance of infrastructure and running of hospitality projects (hotels, food chains and other service oriented projects) and the revenue generated by them is appropriately recognised in the qualifying criteria for the station development exercise.
IRSDC had invited RFPs for stations in Nagpur, Gwalior, Amritsar and Sabarmati at an indicative cumulative cost of around Rs 1,300 crore. The government’s premier think tank, NITI Aayog, has been pushing for holistic development of the area around railway stations.