Sunday, August 08, 2010

Centre rejects State plea on rail link to BIA

Centre rejects State plea on rail link to BIA
Ajith Athrady, New Delhi, Aug 7, DHNS

The Centre has rejected the Karnataka Government’s request for equity participation in the proposed high-speed rail link between the Bangalore city centre and the Bangalore International Airport (BIA).

The State government had approached the Civil Aviation Ministry seeking equity participation from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) in the project. The plea was rejected due to AAI’s other financial commitments, a senior official in the ministry told Deccan Herald.

“The ministry has asked the Karnataka Government to build the project as a totally state-sponsored project,” said the official.

While approaching the Centre, the State had said that considering that the high-speed rail link is also part of the airport project, the AAI can participate in the project by investing around Rs 500 crore.

However, the Centre has promised the State that it will give viability gap fund (VGF) for the project which is 20 per cent of the total project cost (around Rs 1,200 crore).
The Centre is studying the State government’s proposal and a high-power committee comprising Union ministers headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will take a decision soon, said the official.

Land notification soon

The Karnataka Government is planning to build the high-speed rail to connect the city centre to the BIA at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore. The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board is likely to issue a preliminary notification to acquire land soon.
The high-speed rail will start from BRV Grounds. It will have two stops—at Hebbal and Yelahanka—before reaching BIA. It is expected to cover the 34-km distance in less than 25 minutes.

The State Government has shortlisted five consortia for executing the project under public-private partnership. The final concessionaire is expected to be appointed in two months. The construction is likely to begin in January 2011.

The short listed consortia are: Reliance Infrastructure and CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Company of China, Larsen & Toubro and Transco Ltd, ITD-ITD Cementation joint venture (Italian–Thai Development Public Company and ITD Cementation India Limited), Pioneer Infratech and Siemens Project Ventures Gmbh and Lanco Infratech and OHL Concesiones of Spain.

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