Bengaluru suburban rail project clears major hurdle

Railway Ministry gives nod to nudge out private firm, shares held by it will be divided between state govt and railways  
Bengaluru suburban rail project clears major hurdle

BENGALURU: A major obstruction to the implementation of the Suburban Railway Project in Bengaluru has been cleared. An in-principle approval has been received from the Railway Ministry on Tuesday for state government and the Railways to hold 51 per cent and 49 per cent shares, respectively, in the company that would set up the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Suburban Railway Project. This nudges out the only private company which was to have a majority holding in it.The new Metro Rail Policy mandates that the state needs to be the primary owner of any SPV project in which Railways is involved. 

The holding of majority of shares by private concern I-DECK Ltd (Infrastructure Development Corporation Karnataka Limited) (48 per cent) in K-RIDE, with Railways and the state each having 26 per cent, was not agreeable to the Railways. This had delayed the progress of the Suburban Railway Project. 
But on Tuesday, the Railway Ministry gave its ‘in principle’ approval to the proposal sent by the state government to make changes in the share holding pattern of the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Ltd (K-RIDE), under the aegis of which the SPV to implement the Suburban Rail Project for Bengaluru, will be set up. 

Now, they have arrived at a consensus of dividing the shares held by I-DECK. The state would own 51 per cent shares in K-Ride and Railways 49 per cent for setting up the SPV for the implementation of the Suburban Railway Project. The private company I-Deck will be completely out of the equation.The state government had sent its proposal on Monday to the Railway Board, which represents the Railway Ministry, following a meet held in Vidhana Soudha, the same day with Divisional Railway Manager of Bengaluru Railway Division R S Saxena, Chief Administrative Officer of South Western Railway K C Swami and top K-RIDE officials.

Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, who chaired the meet, confirmed to the The New Indian Express: “We got the in-principle approval from the Railways immediately. It will help us expedite the process of setting up the SPV.”  The Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of K-RIDE will be modified very shortly, he said. “We have decided to hold regular weekly meetings, with the next meeting scheduled for August 28,” Bhaskar said.  

Chief Administrative Officer of South Western Railway, Swami, said, “The doubling and electrification on the Baiyappanahalli-Hosur (48 km) and Yesvantpur-Lottegahalli-Hebbal-Banaswadi-Baiyappanahalli-Channasandra (21.7 kms) routes of the suburban network, will be taken up on priority.”
The Detailed Project Report is expected to be released by RITES Limited — an engineering consultancy company, specializing in transport infrastructure — in January next year. 

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