Sunday, August 22, 2010

High Speed Rail Link project hits roadblock

High Speed Rail Link project hits roadblock

Express News Service First Published : 21 Aug 2010 04:14:44 AM ISTLast Updated : 21 Aug 2010 09:59:12 AM IST
BANGALORE: The funding for the proposed High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) project, which will connect the city centre and the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), is still uncertain as two members of the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) consortium are unsure of investing in the project costing Rs 5,700 crore.
The state government, which is planning to commence work on the 34-kilometre rail link from MG Road to the airport at Devanahalli by next year, wants the members of the BIAL consortium to be equity partners. But two members have already said that they do not want to bear the project costs.
GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited, which has 29 per cent stake in BIAL, said that the state government had asked it to bear some part of the project cost. But it had said that it would do so only if it got some returns.
G V Krishna Reddy, chairman, GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited and vice-chairman of BIAL Board, said that the government had placed a proposal before the company and that it was willing to be part of the project, if it could get returns from the investment it made on the project.
“We have asked the government if we will get returns for the investment. But the government does not have an answer to this,” said Reddy.
The state government had also asked the Centre to pitch in for the project through the Airports Authority of India (AAI). However, this was rejected, as the Centre has already promised to give a viability gap fund (VGF) of 20 per cent on the total project cost. It also cited that AAI was already involved in other projects.
For the record, AAI and the state government’s Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation Limited, hold 13 per cent stake each in BIAL.
The HSRL between MG Road and BIA will have stations at Cubbon Road, Hebbal, Yelahanka and the airport terminal.
Five firms — Pioneer Infratech Private Limited & Siemens Project Ventures GmbH, Lanco Infratech Limited & OHL Concesiones SL, L&T Transco Limited, Reliance Infrastructure Limited, CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Co Limited and ITD-ITD Cem Joint Venture — have been shortlisted for participation in the bid process for the construction of the HSRL.
The winner of the bid will execute the rail link project.

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