The Indian government has announced a plan to infuse private funds in the Indian railways, and even develop the lighthouses near ports as tourist spots, according to Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
“In a couple of days from now, the railways will put out tenders inviting private investors to start adopting and rebuilding at least 400 railway stations, which occupies prime land across ever city in India,” Jaitley said at the UAE-India Economic Conference in Dubai on Monday.
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, wants to develop 400 railway stations as business hubs, which will provide various services from internet facilities to motels, and this is a part of the country’s initiative to modernise its decrepit rail network.
While India has the world’s fourth largest rail network, it has been outstripped by China, which now has more than six times as much track following an intensive expansion and modernisation of its network over the past two decades.
The country has also been witnessing interest from foreign investors for other sectors, Jaitley said.
“We have already attracted private foreign investments in Railways, and so also in the defence sector. In terms of infrastructure I’ve seen a lot of eagerness from investors,” he added.
India also plans to develop its lighthouses as boutique tourist places, R.C. Sinha, adviser to India; s minister of Road Transport and Highways, said.
There are 115 lighthouses in India, of which the government has selected 79.
“The business that investors want to set up would depend on economic and financial sense of the businessman,” Sinha added.
If the lighthouse is on an island the government would provide a grant of Rs100 million to build a jetty to ferry tourists from the mainland.
Foreign investors can bid for one or all of the lighthouses separately or collectively.