Railways chugs too slowly for Karnataka's comfort

Railways chugs too slowly for Karnataka's comfort

Union Ministry has cleared none of the five proposed rail lines

 But the excitement was short-lived as the Railway Ministry has shown little interest in giving clearance for their implementation.

Seven months after the budget, none of the five PPP projects proposed by the State government has been cleared by the Railway Ministry, nor is any clearance likely in the current financial year, official sources said.

Of the five projects — Hubli-Ankola, Talaguppa-Honnavar, Kudachi-Bagalkot, Bijapur-Shahabad and Dharwad-Belgaum — proposed by the State Infrastructure Development Department (IDD), the Railway Ministry picked only two for the current financial year — Talaguppa-Honnavar, Kudachi-Bagalkot. It entrusted Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a state-owned company, to conduct the feasibility study. RVNL recently concluded that both proposals are financially not viable for implementation under the PPP model, sources said.

The five projects covering nearly 1,000 km are crucial for the economic development of the State. They link important industrial corridors, besides providing the much-needed rail connectivity to ports. It is estimated that these projects require Rs 6,000 crore for implementation.

Sources said the IDD had proposed these projects only after conducting its own feasibility study.

The Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Limited, a government of Karnataka company, conducted the bankability study for the projects and declared them suitable for the PPP model.

The IDD had informed the Railways that it would set up a ‘special purpose vehicle’ (SPV) for these projects and proposed that the State government and the Railway Ministry take up 13 per cent stake each in the SPV, leaving the rest for the private partner.
But the Railways has informed the IDD that it would work out a different model.

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