Western Railway is putting up a prime parcel of land, a late 19th century parcel depot located in Grant Road, for renovation, utilisation and operation by a private party for five years. It is offering this 2,058.25 sq metres plot - which is among the oldest parcel depots, built in 1890 – to private businesses. For the past many years now, this depot has not been used. Hit by falling revenue amid the pandemic, the Railways is looking at non-fare revenue models to generate additional revenue.
The space, spanning over half-an-acre in the heart of south Mumbai is expected to rake in some revenue for the rail authorities in this pandemic times. The reserve price they are asking for is Rs 4.83 crore per annum, with escalation of seven per cent in subsequent years.
“We expect to earn Rs 27.82 crore in five years. This parcel depot will be beneficial for business houses and businesses in the vicinity, as it is a large open space and has a covered shed that can be used for offices, stacking, storage, sorting and parking. We have called tenders for the same which close on June 10,” said a WR official on condition of anonymity.
Grant Road, located in the heart of Mumbai, is surrounded by wholesale markets at Lamington Road, Kalbadevi, Bhuleshwar and Mangaldas Market and is walking distance from the parcel depot. “This is a highly commercialised but congested area. The space crunch makes it a challenge to develop a warehouse in this area. So, we expect this warehouse to be a welcome proposition for businesses,” added the official.
The WR claims that this will also bring shops and warehouses closer, saving time, fuel and labour. Besides, the proximity of Mumbai Central terminus and Grant Road station will ease the movement of goods. At the end of five years, the developed warehouse facility will be handed over to the Railways, which can utilise it at further advantage.
A decade ago, the WR had planned to redevelop this parcel depot, exploring two options -- the first option was to demolish the depot and build a multi-department administrative building — for around Rs 10 crore — that would rehabilitate a string of WR offices. The second option was to use the plot to build a maintenance centre for the Linke Hofmann Bush (LHB) coaches.