The Karnataka government has resubmitted the suburban rail project report to the Centre recently, following a directive from it to do so. The project cost has now been revised from Rs 18,621 crore to Rs 15,767 crore proposed in February, with Rs 2,854 crore earmarked for procuring coaches through a public private partnership.
“The nodal agency for implementing the project, K-RIDE (Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Enterprises) had submitted its final report on the 148.17-km project in January this year and the Centre wanted it to incorporate Rolling Stock (coaches) under a separate section as a public private partnership (PPP) model. Hence, we gave another report recently and it is now pending with the finance ministry.”
The report will have to be approved by the expenditure section of the ministry and then sent for clearance to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. In February this year, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav had made a presentation on the Rs 18,621 crore project to the Prime Minister’s Office after the Union Cabinet had cleared it. “The PMO had proposed changes for the Rolling Stock to bring down the investment cost,” said a government source.
K-RIDE, submitted another report in March after exploring the aspect of ‘Leasing of Rolling Stock’. The report had stated that by permitting a private partnership in connection with 306 AC coaches over a 30-year period, the profit margin would be impacted marginally. If funded internally, the rate of return would go down from 10.99% to 10.75%, the report prepared by consultancy firm Rail Infrastructure and Technical Engineering Services (RITES) said.
It had then also suggested keeping the option of funding through the SPV open. Meanwhile, K-RIDE also appointed an agency to carry out land survey and mapping of utilities that need to be shifted for the Suburban project.