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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Suresh Prabhu in saddle, Railways plans new public-private partnership projects
Photo: Yourarticlelibrary.com
Wednesday, 3 December 2014: In coming days, Railways plan to bring in other type of projects like development of stations to the public-private partnership route.  

In a meeting this week, the Railways officials are also likely to unveil handful of projects identified for development through the PPP route. Foreign financial institutions like HSBC and JP Morgan have also been extended invitations for the meeting.

Railways is meeting private sector players which are currently engaged in various public-private partnership (PPP) projects with it on Friday to discuss the new model concession agreement being developed and also various projects that could be offered as PPP opportunities.

The Railways have also invited consultants like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte and also financial institutions and is likely to discuss the newly refined and developed model concession agreement, which would be the basis for the renewal of PPP in Railways, sources told dna.

However, wagon and coach makers and other suppliers to Railways have not been called.

"The meeting is limited to the PPP partners and investors and we are not part of it," Titagarh Wagons chairman J P Chowdhury said when asked if other partners of the Railways, the wagon makers, have been invited to the meeting.

Pipavav Railway Corp, Hassan-Mangalore Rail Development Co, Kutch Railway Co are some of the PPP companies that are developing projects which mostly involve gauge conversion.

In coming days, Railways plan to bring in other type of projects like development of stations to the PPP route.

In the meeting the Railways officials are also likely to unveil handful of projects identified for development through the PPP route, sources said.

Foreign financial institutions like HSBC and JP Morgan have also been extended invitations, sources said, indicating the Railways's seriousness in taking their views on the development of PPPs in the sector which was severely criticised recently by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

CAG said in its report tabled in Parliament in July that Railways lacked a coherent policy on PPP and a specific model concession agreement while pointing out loopholes in contract agreements.

While Railways at that time argued that its model concession pact is dynamic and specific to requirement of the department, it set on the path of reworking its existing model which is now being finalised.

The Railways, which only a year back didn't have money even to buy essentials like wagons, recently got a big boost with the appointment of Suresh Prabhu as the railway minister who has identified restarting work on stalled projects as one of his key priorities.

A roadmap and a guiding policy for the next 10 years is also on the works and is set to be unveiled within the next two months.

Meanwhile, a report on restructuring the Railway Board being prepared by a team headed by economist Bibek Debroy is also being finalised.

Courtesy: DNA India
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