Saturday, 16 February 2008

GMR Group to bid for Railway Stations


February 13, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Feb 12: The GMR group is now exploring new avenues in railways and hydel power after successfully creating several firsts in airports.
GMR Group chairman Mr GM Rao told this newspaper, in an exclusive interview marking the successful trial run of the new international airport at Shamshabad near here, that the Group would bid for the modernisation of New Delhi railway station next month when the Indian Railways opens the bids for the Rs 5,000 crore work. The railway project involves 86 hectares of prime land abutting the New Delhi station and once complete it will serve seven lakh passengers and handle around 300 trains.
"This is a prestigious project. It is for the first time that the Central
government has invited private parties for modernisation of railway stations. We will participate in the bids, since we have always taken up first of their kind
projects in the country," Mr Rao said.
Referring to the Group's activity in the energy sector, Mr Rao said they were planning to go in for an initial public offer. "But we have not yet worked out the details. It is yet to materialise," he added.
The Group is now foraying into the hydel energy department by signing up with governments for 1000 mw hydel power projects. One of the hydel project GMR has taken up is in neighbouring Nepal.
"We have entered into a joint venture with Himtal Hydro Power Co Limited of Nepal. We will purchase 80 per cent stake in Himtal Hydro for the 250 mw Upper Marsyangdi-2 hydro power project," Mr Rao said.
GMR Energy has already taken up work on a coal based thermal plant at Kamalanga in Orissa and it is expected to be ready by 2010. It has signed an MoU with the government of Arunachal Pradesh for implementation, operation and maintenance of the 160 mw Talong hydro power project on river Kemeng.
Mr Rao said he had always ventured into projects that are financially viable and promising. "We do not have emotional attachment to any business. We go for projects which are profitable."
Asked whether power IPO would be viable, he said GMR Infra went in for IPO
when the sensex was 7000. "It was a difficult period but we have proved ourselves by our performance," he said indicating that the GMR's power IPO would perform well at the market.
He said the Group would utilise the one billion US dollars, it had raised recently through Qualified Institutional Placement, for various ongoing and future projects. "We raised the money in just 24 hours. We have several projects
on hands and the money will be pumped into them," he said.
Referring to Istanbul airport in Turkey the Group had recently bid, Mr Rao said they would be signing the agreement on March 31 and take over the project on April 1.
He made it clear that there was no question of issuing NoC for high rise buildings in the airport four km inner horizontal zone where the flight path falls. The State government has given licences for special economic zones for Indu Projects, Brahmani Infotech and Raheja. "We have told the APIIC that the funnel area rules should be strictly adhered to," he said.

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