Tatas, L&T & RIL eye railways’ Rs 2,500-cr port linkage project

Indian infrastructure majors such as the Tata Group, Larsen & Toubro and Reliance Industries, which have already made inroads into the port and road sectors, are now looking at railway projects. The three companies along with Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company have expressed interest in the Indian Railways' R2,500-crore port connectivity project.

The national transporter under the 12th Plan expects an investment of R5,000 crore in the port connectivity projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. Last month it had invited expressions of interest from private companies.

According to a senior railway ministry official, Dhamra Port, a joint venture (JV) of Tata Steel and L&T, Rewas Port of RIL, Balaji Infra Projects' Dighi Port and Astaranga Port of Navayuga Engineering have applied to build rail links under the participative policy of rail connectivity, which for the first time allows private investment for building core rail infrastructure.

The participative policy, aimed at attracting private investment for railway infrastructure, was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure in November.

The official said the Orissa-based Dhamra Port has applied to build a 60-km rail link connecting the port with the nearest rail line. Dighi and Rewas ports in Maharashtra's Raigad district are interested in building 30 km of track each, connecting with Konkan Railways' line at Mangaon-Indapur, while Astaranga in Orissa's Puri district has proposed to build a 73-km rail link.

"Railway connectivity will be developed on private land. Railways' land meant for providing connectivity may also be made available on lease/licence under the extant policy. However, in such cases, commercial utilisation of the railway land for purposes other than the project will not be allowed," the official said.

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