New Delhi:  With the aim of developing railway stations to match global standards by leveraging commercial utilisation of land, Railways on Thursday joined hands with Belgium to carry out its modernisation plans.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by visiting Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Didier Reynders and Railway Minister Mukul Roy on bilateral co-operation for effective development and modernisation of railway sector of both the countries here.

"The MoU will usher in a new era of cooperation between two countries for effective development and modernisation in railway sector," Roy said after signing the MoU.

He said that both Indian and Belgian Railways will benefit with mutual consultation and exchange of information services on development and modernisation of railway stations.

Railways have identified about 50 stations including New Delhi, Howrah, Mumbai, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Chennai for developing world class stations.

Railways have about 30,000 hectares of vacant land and the national transporter is keen to utilise Belgium expertise in modernisation of railway stations involving commercialisation of real estate around stations.

Hoping that it will be a fruitful and long standing partnership with Indian Railways, Reynders said this initiative will kickstart Belgium cooperation for the development of world class railway stations in India.

As per the MoU both the countries will form steering and working groups consisting of experts to determine and define detailed scope and modalities of the activities and projects to be undertaken by both the countries for mutual benefit. Roy said Belgium government-owned companies - Euro Station and Immostar - have vast experience in field of development of stations in and outside Belgium.

"These companies have extensive expertise in transforming historical railway stations into the modern international terminals and the experience gained by them can be gainfully emulated in India after suitable adaption to Indian conditions," Railway Minister said.

Pointing out that Indian Railways sector is a focus sector of Belgium economic diplomacy, Belgium Deputy Prime Minister said the size of Indian Railways sector is truly impressive.

"The developments and opportunities in this sector are equally impressive in view of the vision and ambitions of the Indian government," Reynders said.

Referring to the existing Belgium involvement in Indian Railways sector, Reynders said that several Belgium or Belgium-based companies are already firmly present in India and their activities range from fastening and coating of rails to the delivery of parts for train construction and software for safety and network management.


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