RPT-India to seek foreign investment in giant, creaking rail network
By Manoj Kumar
NEW DELHI Jan 9 (Reuters) - India will soon invite foreign businesses to help expand its once-mighty but now outdated railways, government sources said, in a move that would mark the opening up of one of the country's last great state-controlled industries.
Foreign investors will be allowed to fully own new services in suburban areas, high speed tracks, and connections to ports, mines and power installations, said two senior officials involved in the deliberations.
Existing passenger and freight network operations will not be open to foreign investors under the initiative, which seeks to ease bottlenecks that slow travel on the world's fourth-largest rail system.
"The plan is to allow 100 percent foreign direct investment in suburban corridors, high-speed train systems, freight line projects implemented through public-private partnership," said an official at the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion.
The government officials said the move could attract up to $10 billion of foreign investment over the next five years.
Previous targets to attract private investment to build India's infrastructure have been missed by a wide margin, but there were positive initial responses from potential investors such as General Electric Co and Bombardier.
Established under British colonial rule, India's vast train network has been overtaken by China's rapid rail expansion over the past two decades. Continued...