Thursday, February 23, 2006

Talks on to build monorail along expressway

Talks on to build monorail along expressway
The Hindu

NICE, Metrail will jointly implement the project

# The plan is to put up a monorail on 41 km of peripheral road and the entire 110-km stretch of the expressway
# Agreement to be signed after the cost estimates are finalised
# NICE is negotiating with Indus Venture Capital Fund for picking up an equity stake in NECE

Bangalore: As the debate rages over whether a monorail should feed and supplement the proposed metro rail project or routes that were left out by the metro rail in Bangalore or replace the metro project altogether, U.K.-based Metrail is close to tasting its first success in India.

Baba Kalyani's Bharat Forge-promoted Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Ltd. (NICE) is in the advanced stages of negotiations with Metrail India Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Metrail, to build a monorail on the entire stretch of the ambitious Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.

"NICE and Metrail have agreed in principle to put up a monorail system on 41 km of peripheral road and the entire 110 km-stretch of the expressway," a NICE official told The Hindu. As per plans, Metrail will implement and operate the monorail on the median that separates the existing two-lanes on either side of the peripheral road and expressway project.

"We are currently working out the costs for jointly developing the monorail. Once the cost estimates are finalised, we will frame the terms and conditions and sign an agreement to implement the monorail," the official said.

Meanwhile, several strategic investors are flocking to buy equity in the project given the diversified spectrum of activities involved and particularly after the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the project promoters against allegations of "land grabbing and other wrong-doing."

NICE is in talks with the U.S.-based equity firm Indus Venture Capital Fund for picking up an equity stake in Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise Ltd. (NECE), the special purpose vehicle formed for implementing the first phase of the BMIC project at an estimated cost of Rs 1,100 crores.


The New York-based equity firm is planning an investment of close to $20 million in the first township spread over approximately 2,800 acres proposed at Bidadi under the first phase of the BMIC project.

Anil Ambani, through his investment vehicle Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises (ADAE), has already acquired a 15 per cent stake worth Rs. 180-200 crores in the first phase of BMIC.

NICE has also signed a MoU with ONGC Ltd. from whom it currently sources bitumen for laying roads and diesel for construction purposes. The MoU may be converted into a strategic partnership since ONGC plans to open retail outlets along the expressway. Besides, it can be a potential supplier of LNG through its subsidiary MRPL to fire the 400 MW power plant proposed in the first phase.

The strategic partnership with Mr. Anil Ambani will help NICE to utilise the core competence of Reliance Infocomm for laying a telecommunication and optical fibre network along the expressway for the captive use of the township that encompass residential complexes, huge multiplexes, office blocks, hospitals, educational institutions and campus estimated to cost a whopping Rs. 30,000 crores. Reliance Energy is also expected to be associated with the proposed power plant.

It will also facilitate Mr. Anil Ambani to realise his retail plans by setting up hypermarkets in the township.

The official explained that by acquiring a strategic equity in the project, corporates were looking at tapping the huge business opportunities involved.

The first phase of the BMIC project involves 41 km of peripheral road of 75 metres wide, 9 km of link road of 60 metres wide, 12 km of expressway of 90 metres wide and one township.


Post a Comment

<< Home