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Railways opens up more than Rs 90,000 cr of FDI opportunity

Foreign investors can put in as much as Rs 90,300 crore in India’s rail infrastructure through the foreign direct investment (FDI) route, suggests a list of projects released by the railway ministry.

The Rs 63,000-crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor project is the single largest. The other big ones include the Rs 14,000-crore CSTM-Panvel suburban corridor, to be implemented in public-private partnership (PPP), and the Rs 1,200-crore Kachrapara rail coach factory, besides multiple freight line, electrification and signalling projects.

“We are going to hold two investor meets to apprise potential investors of the kind of models and projects on offer for participation,” Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said. The ministry had earlier this month held an investor meet that saw participation of about 150 top executives from 65 private companies.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had said the ministry would put in place an “investor-friendly framework to transform the national transporter into an efficient organisation, attract investment on a long-term sustainable basis and in three years make the railways better than what it is today”.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor stretches 534 km and will be implemented on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis, with government-to-government cooperation. For the Kachrapara rail coach factory, the ministry has finalised the lowest price per coach as the bidding parameter. The factor is being planned to roll out 500 such coaches annually.

According to the Railway Board, the discussions at the previous investor meet surrounded the overview of five models of participative policy, framework of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts and sectoral guidelines for foreign and domestic investment. The ministry’s brass has also deliberated on a new model concession agreement under the PPP model and new projects like station development to be rolled out under PPP with investors.

Among the companies that have so far expressed interest in the ministry’s PPP initiative are Reliance Infrastructure, Larsen & Toubro, Siemens, Adani Ports, GMR, Tata Infrastructure, Gammon, Jindal Steel and Power, JSW, Bombardier, GE, Alstom, Electromotive Diesel, Bharat Heavy Electricals, NMDC, HSBC and JPMorgan.

ALSO READ: Prabhu promises investor-friendly framework to make railways more efficient

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