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India is well on track to lend much-needed support to Mauritius for the light rail project to connect the capital city of Port Louis with the residential hub of Curepipe.

Contracts have already been awarded by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to a partnership of two companies – India-based construction firm Afcons Infrastructure and Spanish rolling stock manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) – to build the 37-km light rail line.

On the funding front, the Indian government is providing a USD 600 million credit line, with USD 200 million at 1% interest and USD 400 million at less than 2%.

The remaining USD 250 million will be raised on the local market. The government of Mauritius has pledged that light rail will be no more expensive to use than buses when it opens in October 2018.

It is worth noting that, of the 11 companies that submitted expressions of interest in April 2013, and the six that were finally shortlisted, only Afcons and China State Construction Engineering Co (CSCE) responded to the request for proposals in November. CSCE was subsequently disqualified, as it has been blacklisted by the World Bank.

Afcons and CAF submitted both a base proposal and an alternative proposal, which were assessed by project consultant Singapore Co-operation Enterprise. Its quote was reduced from an initial USD 862 million to USD 786 million.

Incidentally, much of the route, known locally as métro léger, would use the alignment of the standard gauge Mauritius Government Railways’ Midland Line, which closed in 1964.

Also, there would be 20 stops altogether along the route, some of which will be designed as hubs for bus feeder services.

Source: Railways Gazette – Image: Automation World

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