Monday, November 17, 2014

Roadshows for railway FDI in US, Europe and Japan
Suresh Prabhu plans existing network’s facelift
Sunil Agarwal, President & CEO,
ARSS Infrastructure Ltd
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Suresh Prabhu railway minister, a move is afoot in the cash-starved Indian Railways to hardsell the recently-allowed FDI to the international market. The Railways will soon rope in private players to hold roadshows in a number of international destinations, including Japan, China, Europe and the United States, to attract FDI in the rail system.

“The Railways have notified the areas wherein FDI will be allowed. With the homework done, the next step is to reach out to interested parties in foreign capitals. The Railways will entrust this responsibility to professional entities from the private sector to convey to foreign invstors that the Railways could be a good investment option,” said a senior official.

Mr Prabhu has indicated he doesn’t believe in sticking to the status quo in the Railways and would rather to scale up investments in a big way. “Besides the high-speed rail system, the minister is of the view that the existing rail networks need a major facelift. He is trying to present a blueprint soon to scale up railway finances via multiple options, that include FDI and securitisation of railway assets,” the official added.

The Railways will seek private partners to tap investment possibilities in Japan, China, Europe and the US to attract FDI. “The immediate concern is not to tie up funds for the high-speed rail corridor, but to significantly ramp up the existing infrastructure so that trains on semi-high speed mode could be cleared. The minister also sought an exhaustive report on the status of ongoing and pending projects before the Winter Session begins. The immediate thrust is to manage funds for the turnaround in existing functions of the Railways so that it can make a significant contribution to the country’s economic growth,” the official added.

The Railways are now seeking FDI in station, track and signalling, besides greenfield projects. The proposed Rail Coach Factory in Palakkad (Kerala) will also be at the top of the new minister’s agenda in seeking FDI.

Courtesy: The Asian Age
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