The Indian Railways has planned to build Rail Arcades, envisioned as small city centre hubs with shopping plazas, entertainment and food courts, at major railway stations across the country.
The first two have been proposed to be developed in Bengaluru and Chandigarh. The state-run Indian Railways Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) has floated tenders to develop the small city centre that will let residents of the two cities and travellers to engage, use the facilities and spend quality time. The tender states that potential bidders won't be allowed to sell alcohol, beef and pork at these hubs. The proposed arcade zone for KSR Bengaluru railway station will be spread across 15,550 square feet while Chandigarh railway station's arcade will be half this size, 7,500 sq ft. The space is to be developed as an experience zone with the presence of brands.
The construction and setting of the Rail Arcades is a part of a larger plan to monetize the national carrier's land parcels and railway stations to shore up its falling revenue. IRSDC is also working to transform railway station areas into a Railopolis, a mini smart city hub with mixed-use development. The contract winning company will be required to take over the identified space and undertake re-modelling of the entire area for the development of commercial, leisure & entertainment space for passengers and other customers. The successful bidder will also be responsible for bringing in reputed brands in the respective segments and ensure that there are food, refreshment and retail product outlets for the right customer experience. The contract to set up the arcade, manage it and operate it on a 24X7 basis will be for a duration of nine years after that the arcade will have to be transferred back.