May 13, 2008 / 9:06 AM / 10 years ago

India's $90 bln industry corridor on track - minister

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s ambitious $90 billion industrial corridor project is on track, and rising prices of steel and cement will not hamper work, Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar said.

The project spanning New Delhi and Mumbai is being built with Japanese help on the lines of the Tokyo-Osaka industrial corridor.

It includes high speed rail freight lines, power plants to supply an additional 4,000 megawatt, three new sea ports and six airports, 12 new industrial clusters, 10 logistic parks and agricultural hubs.

“I believe that between October and December, the trial runs of the electric tractions between Mumbai and Pune should be completed,” Ashwani Kumar told Reuters in an interview.

“Depending on the results of the trial runs, the matter will then be pushed full steam ahead so that we achieve the target date of 2012 for the first phase.”

Kumar said he did not expect rising prices of steel, cement and other metals and building materials to hamper the process, adding that the total cost may rise to $92 billion which should not matter.

Japanese and German companies were among those that have showed interest in the project, he said.

Kumar said the government was actively involving private and foreign players for improving India’s infrastructure, which would require $500 billion by 2012, and provide the trigger for growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

“We are encouraging domestic, private and government, investment in infrastructure under public-private partnership mode. We are also actively wooing foreign investment and technology in the infrastructure sector.”

Reporting by Surojit Gupta and Rajkumar Ray

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