In a curious coincidence, the Rs. 20,000-crore Metro project in Gujarat achieved financial closure for Phase-I on the day its chief resigned from his post, announcing he was following the example of Infosys’ N. R. Narayana Murthy and returning to his own business.
The Metro-link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Ltd on Friday evening announced financial closure of the futuristic Metro rail project linking the financial and political-administrative capitals of Gujarat. “The closure has been achieved in record time and even before core construction work begins. This underlines the confidence that the lenders have in the projects and its promoters,” the company said.
The company is in the process of finalising design consultants from among 26 global and Indian majors who submitted expressions of interest (EoI) in July and core construction work is scheduled to commence in October.
However, on Friday evening itself, Sanjay Gupta, Executive Chairman, MEGA, announced he was stepping down from his post to return to his multiple business interests under the Neesa Group of Companies and also to launch his “dream project” of floating a private equity fund, Let India Fly Foreover (LIFE). It will raise Rs. 250-300 crore from investors in India and abroad and assist entrepreneurs. He said he was following the example of Infosys chief N. R. Narayan Murthy’s return to his own business in the current economic scenario.
Gupta, an IAS officer of the 1985 batch, had resigned after Narendra Modi became the Chief Minister in October 2001. The former bureaucrat, known for his networking expertise and turning around the GSPC Group, joined the Adani Group as an Advisor and later became an entrepreneur to head his own Neesa Group. He had joined MEGA, the special purpose vehicle for the Metro project, in April 2011.
Before stepping down as Metro chief, Gupta said a consortium of 10 leading public banks, headed by Punjab National Bank (PNB), has sanctioned a debt of Rs. 4,700 crore of which Rs. 3,100 crore has been allocated for Phase-IA, comprising a length of 31 km and 23 stations, that would be implemented by August 2017.
The equity component for Phase-IA, expected to be around Rs. 4,292 crore, would be infused primarily by the State and Central Governments. The equity component of Phase-IB stands at Rs. 5,835 crore, while the debt component would be Rs. 3,890 crore. The banks have already agreed, in principle to sanction the debt component of Phase-IB too.