Saturday, March 25, 2006

The key tasks before V. Madhu

The key tasks before V. Madhu

The Hindu

The Rs. 6,300-crore Bangalore Metro Rail is awaiting Central clearance

BANGALORE: Getting the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and securing a Rs. 1,800-crore loan from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) are going to be key concerns of the new Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. V. Madhu, who took charge on Friday.

The Rs. 6,300-crore Bangalore Metro Rail is awaiting the clearance from CCEA, which was to have cleared the project by now to meet the deadline set by the Japanese Bank. The JBIC is offering the loan at 1.5 per cent interest per annum, the cheapest the project is getting. It is to be repaid in 37 years.

The JBIC had insisted on securing all the clearances for the project before the meeting of its board on March 28. The approval of the CCEA, which meets every Thursday, could not come on March 23. Official circles wonder whether the JBIC will be considerate towards BMRCL if it fails to take its final proposal before the JBIC by March 28. Sources point out that when the JBIC chose the Bangalore project, it was one of the 20-odd projects it was considering to invest in India. The JBIC, whose teams visited Bangalore four times to make independent assessment of the project, had favoured investing in the metro rail project.

The JBIC loan is considered important for other reasons too. If the bank sanctions and releases the loan it would ensure strict adherence to standards in implementation of the project. The BMRCL will have to send weekly reports on implementation and ensure total transparency, the sources point out.

Giving an example, the sources said that the bank was keen to ensure that 10 trees are planted for every tree cut. "They will ensure that all the 10 plants are being nursed well."

This, they said, would not be possible, if Indian banks financed the project. The projects taken up with Indian funds might see frequent changes.


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