International Agencies Keen to have Equity Stake in Silver Line Project

Global investment funds including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and national corporations like Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) and Konkan Railway Corporation Limited, have evinced interest in buying equity stake in Silver Line, Kerala’s Semi High-Speed Rail project.

“We have been receiving international interest in the project. Apart from ADIA, various institutions such as sovereign funds and private funds from Europe and the USA have reached out to us for the project details. Agencies like RVNL, Konkan Railway etc have shown interest in the project following our request. We are trying to involve them in the construction of the project besides taking equities worth Rs 6,000 crore set aside for institutional investors,” said V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL).

Multilateral credit agencies like Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), KfW of Germany and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are eager to lend money at low interest rates starting from 0.25 per cent. During the chief minister’s recent visit to Japan, the project’s feasibility report was presented before the JICA director board. The final draft of the Detailed Project Report will be ready by March end.

“Though JICA is currently funding around six metro projects in the country, we have requested them to add our project on the priority list. It has been informed that the funding will be on the lines of the agency’s support for Chennai Metro where it includes the procurement of rakes and other materials from Japan,” he said.

The KRDCL is looking to cover Rs 34,000 crore (half of the project cost) through loans. The loan period will be 40 years, with a 12-year moratorium.

Land Acquisition

To speed up the land acquisition, a meeting chaired by the chief minister two weeks ago has decided to form 10 land acquisition cells in 10 districts which are part of the project. “Deployment of officers to these cells will commence soon. Land acquisition and the tendering process will take two years. We are hoping to commence the construction by 2022 and complete it within three years,” said Ajith Kumar.