Indian Railways to triple its Land Monetization Revenue

The Rail Land Development Authority is offering large plots for commercial and residential development in Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata in a bid to generate revenue to the tune of Rs 3,000 crores this financial year.

The statutory body, a division of the railway ministry that develops vacant land for commercial use, has identified a 9,500 square metre plot at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai, a 17.9- hectare plot in New Delhi’s Shakurbasti and an 8.83-hectare plot in Salt Golah near Howrah railway station for monetisation.

RLDA expects to triple its revenue for FY21 up from Rs 931 crore in FY20. “While our target is to issue tenders worth Rs 10,000 crore in 2020-21 against Rs 3,500 crore in the previous year, a large sum of the money is expected from these prime plots. The plot in Kolkata alone is expected to generate Rs 800 crore as it is at a riverfront,” said Ved Parkash Dudeja, vice chairman of RLDA.

RLDA awarded lease contracts of Rs 1,553 crore in FY20. A landmark deal for the authority was the lease of 10.7 hectares at Ashok Vihar in New Delhi to Godrej Properties Ltd. for a premium of Rs 1,359 crore. Godrej Properties will pay the lease premium in eight interest-bearing instalments and also construct 135 staff quarters.

Last year, the RLDA leased land at Aishbagh in Lucknow, Gwaltoli in Kanpur, Jhansi East, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam, Aynavaram in Chennai and Amritsar. According to RLDA, it was able to garner Rs 1,553 crore from leases in FY20 against Rs 127 crore in FY19 because of a change in its strategy of land monetisation towards tier-2 cities.

“The successful bidder usually pays in instalments, that’s why the earnings are less than the amount of the tender. Despite Covid-19, we expect a big response from private developers this year since railway land always has had demand,” Dudeja added. The Indian Railways has about 43,000 hectares of vacant land across India. RLDA is officially empowered to exercise powers of the Central government in relation to development of vacant railway land.