Rail Min to form JVs between Centre, states for rail projects

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Rail Min to form JVs between Centre, states for rail projects

New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) The Railways would have joint venture arrangements under which the Centre and states will have 50 per cent equity each and joint ownership in rail projects, aiming to expedite their execution and improve coordination with state governments.

“We have come up with a new arrangement called a joint venture with the state in which the Centre and the states will have 50 per cent equity each and joint ownership.

“The new company formed will have representatives from state governments on the Board of Directors. They will decide on the project’s priorities and its implementation,” Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha.

Prabhu observed that 17 states have agreed in-principle to the new arrangement as of now.

He said while the Centre and states will contribute equivalent amount of money needed for the project, the remaining funds will come through debt financing.

Prabhu said the benefit of this arrangement would be that the state government will decide on the project’s priorities and tackle the issues at the local level like land acquisition and law and order.

Pointing out that coordination with the state governments was very critical, the Railway Minister said “therefore we have decided to appoint a nodal officer in the Railway Board for the first time at each zone dealing with a particular state and requested all state Governments also to appoint a nodal officer. The process has already been completed”.

In a written reply, Prabhu said that to improve Centre- State coordination, the Ministry of Railways had requested the state governments to nominate representatives.

Majority of the states have nominated their representatives to sort out different issues and monitor the progress of railway projects in their respective state, he said.

“The representative/nominee from states have been holding regular meetings with railway authorities on various issues involving alignment, land acquisition, forestry and wild life clearances, law & order problems, road over and under bridges, shifting of electrical lines, canal crossings, funding of projects, identification of interested parties,” Prabhu said.

Besides, to strengthen the coordination mechanism, nodal officers have also been nominated from zonal railways for each state with a defined role of identifying the projects, requiring coordination with state Government and arranging meetings of railway officials with the state governments.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.