Railways to meet private investors today

After giving its green signal for private investments in Indian Railways, now comes the route-map to balance investors’ interest in such projects.

Railways’ new public-private partnership (PPP) scheme – “private participation in rail connectivity and capacity augmentation”-was cleared by the Union cabinet last year. Rail minister Pawan Kumar Bansal now plans to generate PPP investments worth Rs. 5,000 crore for building tracks to connect mine/coal pitheads and ports.

Representatives of approximately 100 infrastructure companies are likely to attend an “investor’s meet” that has been convened by the Railways on Saturday to discuss private investments in connectivity projects.

Infrastructure firms, including the IL&FS, GMR, Larsen and Toubro, Tata group and the Reliance Industries are understood to have evinced interest in Bansal’s plan.

The government has asked the cash-strapped railways to prepare a model concession agreement (MCA)– a framework to address issues related to financing, allocation of risks, rewards and obligations between the partners.

“We will prepare five different MCAs catering to each of the five PPP models envisaged in the new policy,” said a top official. The road sector is one of the key areas that have such agreements. The Railways is also preparing two separate MCAs for stations and dedicated freight corridors.