India is about to embark on an ambitious railway scheme aimed at improving connectivity in the state of Maharashtra.
Konkan Railway (Konkan), the agency responsible for implementing the project, is looking to build a new 103-kilometre (km) railway line that will connect two of the state's main cities.
The project has been approved by the Indian Ministry of Railways, and Konkan is now seeking a private partner through an invitation for expression of interest (EOI).
The agency will hold a 26 percent stake in the project, which is expected to cost up to INR25 billion. The Maharashtra Government has committed to cover 50 percent of this total, with the rest to be contributed by private parties.
The project provides for the construction of a rail link between Chiplun, on the Konkan Railway, and Karad, on the Pune-Kolhapur Section, of the Central Railway. Part of the railway line will run along the river Koyna, passing through a hilly terrain of Western Ghats.
Expected to be completed within five years, the project calls for the construction of sixteen tunnels – totaling 46.22km – and 23 major bridges. The preferred bidder will commit to a 30-year concession, with the option to extend it by five years.
Interested parties are required to submit their EOI before 23 November 2015.
The rail link aims to improve connectivity between Maharashtra's ports and the hinterland. It will connect Kolhapur with the new hubs on the Western Coast, with a view to facilitate the development of the state's major sugar production centres.