Rail land lease fee lowered
The Union cabinet on Wednesday reduced the licence fee on rail land to 1.5 per cent from 6 per cent for certain usage and raised the period of lease to 35 years from five years — paving the way for the strategic sale of Container Corporation of India (Concor).
Concor, which operates terminals on land leased from Indian Railways at a license fee of 6 per cent of the market value of land, is the target of Gautam Adani, who had expressed concern over the land fee and lease terms.
The Concor stock on Wednesday touched a 52-week high of Rs 766.30 after the news break but shaved off Rs 40 from the day’s high to end 8.5 per cent higher at Rs 726.65 on the BSE. Information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said the new policy would enable the integrated development of infrastructure and the setting up of more cargo terminals.
This will increase railways’ share in freight transportation and reduce overall logistics costs in the country. Stakeholders interested in Concor had reportedly told the government that the existing land license fee framework was prohibitive. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd APSEZ), India’s largest private port operator, is eyeing a stake in Concor through the disinvestment process. “We are very keen on it (Concor), it is a strategic asset. One of the big steps that the government needs to solve is the land licensing fee. I think once that is done, we do expect the sale to be put on the fast track,” Karan Adani, chief executive officer APSEZ said in a conference call earlier this year.
Concor is engaged in the transportation and handling of containers. The firm also operates logistics facilities, including dry ports, container freight stations and private freight terminals. It has 61 container depots, out of which 26 are on railway land leased on a per container basis. The railways owns 4,780 sq km of land — more than the area of Goa by as much as 30 per cent. Out of this, 510 sq km is vacant, according to data till March 2019.