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'Many projects affected due to land acquisition problems'

business Updated: Jan 22, 2012 23:59 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times
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Last in news for building India’s longest railway bridge -- the 4.6-km-long bridge involving the construction of the Vallarpadam-Idapally new line in Kerala -- the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is bracing up to start execution works on major projects including the construction of the prestigious Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail link. Corporation Managing Director Satish Agnihotri spoke to Srinand Jha on upcoming schemes and related issues. Excerpts:

The corporation’s turnover has shown a dip (down to R1,444 crore in 2010-11 from Rs 1,749 crores the previous year. Why?

As 2012 approached, a number of projects being executed by the RVNL were nearing completion. As a result, the order books were nearly depleted and the expenditure on these projects was lower. Progress in respect of some other projects was affected due to problems associated with land acquisition. Five major projects with an estimated cost of R5,350 crore could not take off due to delay in the sanction of the second Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan. However, despite the decline in the turnover, the company has been able to maintain and in fact improve upon its overall financial performance due to increase in income from interest and dividend.

Besides projects for the extension of the Kolkata Metro, what are the other major projects on the RVNL plate for next fiscal?

Four major projects involving the construction of 66km of Metro line were transferred to the RVNL in March 2010. These projects are likely to cost Rs 10,000 crore. Another high-value contract being implemented by the RVNL is the the construction of the Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail link at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crore.

Besides, there is ongoing work on the 81 projects transferred to the RVNL by the Railways for execution. These include 41 projects of the strengthening of the Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals, 33 projects of port connectivity and corridors to hinterland and three projects for the construction of bridges and workshops.

The Kolkata Metro extension project has reportedly been delayed because of land acquisition problems involving the defence ministry. Progress on its execution is also reported to be slow. Please comment.

This is not true. The RVNL has worked at a fast pace to execute these projects. Contracts for two stretches have been awarded and work has begun.
Contract work for the third — the Joka-BBD Bagh project — was also awarded in December 2010. Tenders for the Dum Dum airport-New Garia project have also been invited. Issues of land acquisition are being sorted out.