Tracking global projects

Written by Rajat Arora | Updated: Mar 26 2014, 08:01am hrs
THE Indian Railways might be struggling to make both ends meet due to its falling revenues but its public sector units are going beyond the seven seas to increase their revenues.

Rail India Technical and Economic Services (Rites), a PSU under the Railways administrative control that operates as consultant for transport and infrastructure projects, has bagged the contract to prepare Kenyas overall transport plan comprising roads, railways and ports.

Kenya has a big coast line and it wants to be the sea contact for other land locked African nations. Well be preparing an integrated plan for their railways, ports, airports, waterways and road network. We also did the same plan for India, out of which the dedicated freight corridors network plan was born, a senior Rites official told FE. The official refused to share the cost of the contract. Rites is also in the race for similar contracts in other East African countries.

The PSU has already completed international projects such as operation and maintenance of Bangladesh Railways, study for improvements to the railway tracks of Botswana Railways, feasibility study and technical assistance for rehabilitation of rolling stock and bridges of Cambodian Railways, and operation and maintenance of the Baghdad-Al Qaim-Akashat section. It has also done the revitalisation study and investment plan of Nigerian Railways, operations improvement plan and decentralisation studies for Tanzania Railway Corporation, railway efficiency improvement project for Uzbek Railways, and investment plan for the National Railways of Zimbabwe.

Rites is an equity partner in the BOT concession project of the Red Atlantic Railway Network in Colombia.

We are internationally recognised as a leading consultant with operational experience in Africa, South East Asia, Middle East and Latin America. Most Rites assignments are for national governments and other apex organisations, said the official. The PSU is registered with the World Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank and other multilateral funding agencies.

Another Railway PSU, the Indian Railway Construction Company (Ircon) is also looking for electrification projects in Iran. At present, the company is implementing an electrified double track railway line costing more than $1 billion. Ircon has widespread operations in Bangladesh, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, UK, Algeria and Sri lanka.

Ircon had a net worth of R2,300 crore at the end of 2012-13.

After bagging the contract for setting up a national broadband network in Bhutan, RailTel, the telecom PSU of the Railways, is eyeing business in African and West Asian countries.

After making our first international foray, we are now exploring opportunities in African and Middle Eastern countries. Theres a huge business potential there and with the kind of experience we have in setting up optical fibre network, we definitely have an edge over the other players. We are participating in global tenders of these countries, a railway ministry official said.