<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State, Railways yet to form joint venture firm for rail projectsOver a year after railway minister Suresh Prabhu and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met in New Delhi to discuss rail infrastructure and the modalities of forming a joint venture (JV) firm or special purpose vehicle (SPV) to fast-track Maharashtra’s rail projects, a Right to Information plea by DNA has shown that no such JV or SPV has as yet been formed.In its RTI reply signed by VS Dahiya, joint director (Works), Railway Board, the railway ministry stated, “The ministry of railways and the Government of Maharashtra are in process to form a joint venture company for the development of rail infrastructure in the State of Maharashtra. GoM has communicated their willingness to sign a JV with MoR. Neither any JV agreement has been signed, nor any SPV has been formed as yet.”According to railway officials, the SPV or JV will streamline the construction of rail infrastructure in the state as a dedicated team would work to carry out various legal processes to kick-start a project. “It would be like the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), a SPV between the state and the railways, that has been overseeing Mumbai’s rail projects and has been acting as a bridge between the state, the railway ministry, Western and Central railways, and the World Bank. It has increased the pace of work since the early 2000s,” explained an official.During the Delhi meeting between Prabhu and Fadnavis on November 4 last year, it was mutually agreed to form a SPV with Prabhu, even asking the state government to finalise a funding model for the SPV.According to officials, work on the SPV should be expedited as Maharashtra has got Rs 4767 crores for rail projects this year, a 206 per cent increase from the average of Rs 1171.4 crores received by the state between 2009-14. “When the funds are in, the work shouldn’t suffer,” said an official.Earlier, in a statement released on November 30 this year, the railway ministry had said that as of now five state governments — Chattisgarh, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala, and Odisha — had formed joint venture firms with the railways. A total of 16 states had also decided to share costs in 43 projects, the total cost of the projects at current prices being Rs 62,379 crores.
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