In a major disinvestment initiative that follows New Delhi’s decision to dilute its Air India ownership, the Centre is considering a proposal to put on the block about 30,000 km of Indian Railways power lines, potentially fetching the national transporter Rs 1 crore for each kilometre of infrastructure.
With the likely upfront receipts of Rs 30,000 crore, the Indian Railways will take on projects that deliver higher returns.
Apart from state-run power companies, private-sector firms and pension funds will also be allowed to bid for these power lines, a senior government official told ET, detailing broad points of the proposal. “It is being deliberated. The idea is that the railways will take these lines on lease and pay a fixed interest to the owner,” he said.
According to the initial plan, the railways will continue to manage the operations and maintenance (O&M) function of these power lines.
“The O&M will be handled by our engineers. The funds raised through this sale will be utilised in projects that have a return of more than 12%,” a top railway official said.