Work on Kolkata monorail to begin in March

November 21st, 2008 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 21 (IANS) A city-based firm, Andromeda Technologies, has bagged the order for constructing the first stretch of a monorail in the West Bengal capital, with the work commencing next March, a top company official said here Friday.”We have got the contract to construct the first 20 km on a build-own-operate basis at an approximate cost of Rs.60 crore (Rs.600 million) per kilometre,” Andromeda chairman P.C. Sen told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing Biz-Bridge Resurgent East conference, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The company will start work that will connect Budge Budge to Taratala in south Kolkata next March. “We have got permission from the state transport department as well as the public works department. It will take us two years to complete the project,” he said.

Sen said he hoped that after completion of the first phase, Andromeda would be allotted the 52-km second phase from Taratala to Rajarhat, which is in the eastern part of the city.

The total expense for the first phase will be around Rs.12 billion, to be raised on a 4:1 debt-equity ratio. The company is presently looking for foreign financial partners and hopes to clinch a deal by December.

Maintaining that getting a financial partner will not be difficult despite the current economic situation, Sen said: “During any economic downturn, infrastructure is the only industry that does well. People are usually keen to invest in infrastructure in such times.”

At the outset, the company will source coaches from Germany. But in due course, it plans to get domestic wagon manufacturers to start making monorail coaches. “We have discussed this with Titagarh Wagons and Jessop already,” Sen said.

Three German companies will partner Andromeda; Fernmeldewerk Munchen Aubing will supply signalling equipment, while Derap AG and Helbling Technik will provide knowhow.

Andromeda also has an offer from a private firm in Bangladesh for constructing monorail in that country.

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