West Bengal plans to give Metro stake to railways

December 21st, 2010 - 12:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 21 (IANS) The West Bengal government plans to hand over its stake in the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) to the railways, KMRC Managing Director Sumantra Chowdhury has said.”The state government has proposed to hand over its stake if railways carry out the project. A proposal was presented to the centre in October this year,” he said Monday.

He said the urban development ministry also proposed to dilute its stake in favour of the railways a few months ago.

The KMRC is a special purpose vehicle formed between the union urban development ministry and the state government to look after the construction of the East West Metro at a cost of Rs.4,874.58 crore.

The urban development ministry has a 25 percent stake (Rs.1,169 crore) in the project while the West Bengal government has a 30 percent stake (Rs.1,452.58 crore). The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has the remaining 45 percent stake (Rs.2,253 crore).

He, however, did not disclose the reason which prompted the state government to send such proposal.

“So far, the progress of the project has not been affected though there are some coordination problems with the railways on the issue of handing over land for the project at Howrah and Sealdah railway stations,” Chowdhury said in a media meet here.

“We are hoping to resolve the issue and start construction work there by May 2011,” he said.

“Till November 2010, KMRC has completed around 12 percent (Rs.553 crore) of the work. Of the Rs.553 crore spent, the centre has provided a loan of Rs.102 crore while the state government released Rs.182 crore.”

“The East West Metro Railway, commissioned in February 2009, is scheduled for completion by December 2014,” said Chowdhury.

However, a senior official of the company on conditions of anonymity said coordination problems between the railways and KMRC has already affected the project. KMRC’s proposal to construct passenger entry and exit points in Sealdah and Howrah stations has been turned down by the railways.

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