Metro rail companies look for alternative earning avenues, monetising assets

Kolkata, March 13 : In order to make metro projects across the cities financially viable, metro rail companies are looking to reduce their costs or exploring alternative revenue stream and at the same time, some are monetising their assets to raise funds, officials said on Tuesday.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Managing Director Mangu Singh said the cost has been brought down to bare minimum and its project cost was lower than that of Kualalumpur’s and Dhaka.

DMRC has signed an agreement with Madhya Pradesh to procure 150 MW of solar power which will fuel its auxiliary power requirements and also reduce power cost, he said.

The corporation is also advising for other metro railway projects in India and Singh wanted to keep the consultancy focus on India at least in the near term.

“We are not going outside (for consultancy) since we have lots to do in India as metros are coming in many cities in India. But in terms of cost, Delhi Metro cost can be benchmarked,” Singh said at an event on Mass Rapid Transportation Systems organised by the Indian Finance Ministry, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, and the Research and Information System in collaboration with Assocham.

For another example, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has opted method of monetising its assets for raising funds for the 17 km long outer ring metro project worth Rs 4,200 crore.

BMRCL’s Executive Director Deepa Kotnis said it signed an MoU with computer hardware major Intel under which “naming rights” of stations would be provided along with 3,000 square feet commercial space, 1,000 square feet advertising space and the corporation is expected to get Rs 100 crore from this arrangement.

“We are in talks to realtors, hoteliers and IT companies with similar proposals. Talks with different companies are in the different stage. We are trying to monetise our space to the extent possible,” she said.

Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola, who had served as Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, advocated that design of urban mobility should consider all the transporting modes including metro rail, bus, auto, taxi and others.

He also urged for integration of different modes transport in cities.

Elaborating on how urban mobility provides economic strength of the cities and brings cities’ economic efficiency, he said these projects are capital intensive and costs of these projects are mostly met through long term debts, mostly from the government.

According to him, metro rail services are seven times energy efficient than buses and it is “viable”.

“The biggest problem of metro projects is huge capital cost. How can we finance the project so that capital costs are brought down and spread over longer period of time? Can we leverage the increase in value of properties through which metro passes? This requires changes in legal paradigm,” Kharola said.

/IANS

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