India Planning Big National Investment in New and Upgraded Railroads

9 de may de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>India Planning Big National Investment in New and Upgraded Railroads</h1><p>May 9 (EIRNS)--State-owned Indian Railways is planning to spend some $56 billion up to 2012, to build more track and modernize the entire system, chairman J. P. Batra at a Tokyo conference organized by the Congress of Indian Industry May 8. Of this, $15 billion would be raised through the public-private partnership (PPP) model, and from commercial banks.</p><p>Batra said in an interview from Kyoto May 6 that "We realize that [India's] high growth would be difficult to sustain without adequate capacity augmentation. A number of major Japanese and European banks are keen to lend money to us," Bloomberg reported. He said that the Indian and Japanese Finance Ministries are holding discussions to arrange $4 billion in loans to build a new dedicated freight rail corridor. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is planning to invest $320 billion by 2012 on transport infrastructure.</p><p>Batra said that estimated growth of the Indian economy could raise goods transport by some 50% and passenger traffic by over 30% by 2012. Already, Indian Railways transports about 15 million people on some 11,000 trains every day. Currently, the fastest trains in India run at 140 km an hour, but high-speed projects are being considered.</p><p>"We are starting feasibility studies to introduce high-speed trains in India, covering a distance of 2,800 kilometers," Batra said. "This will involve a major participation from private companies." India is building two dedicated freight tracks: one Mumbai-New Delhi and the other Ludhiana-Kolkatta. To build the first 2,700 km of track will cost about $6.5 billion. However, the "major focus in the next five years will be on rolling stock such as the locomotives and passenger cars," Batra said.</p></div></body>