The railways have invited foreign investors to execute the CST-Panvel high-speed corridor. This is the very first time that the Indian Railway has thrown open its doors to foreign direct investment—or FDI— in the country.
The estimated cost of the 49 km CST-Panvel high-speed project has been pegged at Rs 14,000 crore. It will also connect south Mumbai to the proposed international airport in Navi Mumbai. With this corridor, you will be able to save 27 minutes of your commute time—from the current 77 minutes to 50.
A senior railway official said that the foreign investor will have to take up the project on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer basis. While railway board rules allow a foreign investor to put in the entire amount, the railways are willing to chip in up to 20% the project cost by way of viability gap funding if the investor so requires.
Viability gap funding is a contribution given for infrastructure projects built on a public-private partnership model. As such projects do not have immediate financial viability on their own, the government offers funds to private players.