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Acquisition of land for the proposed railway expansion project
  Jeddah, 11th Apr 2001

   The Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry has reached an understanding with concerned government agencies on acquisition of land for the proposed railway expansion project.

Osama Kurdi, secretary-general of the council, has said that under the agreement the company implementing the project will not pay compensation for government and private properties to be acquired for the purpose.

The move was aimed at cutting the cost for construction companies. However, Kurdi did not say who would compensate the property owners.

A consortium comprising Saudi, Canadian, German and Austrian companies had come forward with a proposal to implement the multibillion-riyal project on BOT (build, operate and transfer) basis.

The project, which will link the Kingdom’s eastern coast with the western coast and the northwestern part of the country with the capital Riyadh, is projected to cost more than SR12 billion ($3.2 billion). It is also aimed at increasing transport facilities to the Kingdom's untapped mining areas.

At least SR4 billion of this will be required to pay compensation to real estate owners, according to World Bank estimates. The final cost of the project depends on the technology used and many other factors.

After a meeting of businessmen held at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday to discuss the project, Kurdi said efforts were under way to set up four independent companies to undertake the construction and operation of railways.

The meeting agreed to prepare a list of businessmen interested in the Riyadh-Jeddah railway as an initial step. The meeting, with the participation of 50 businessmen, approved a resolution stressing the private sector role in the project.

It discussed a number of plans including extension of the service to accommodate Haj and Umrah pilgrims, linking the network with railways in neighboring countries, linking of Taif and Yanbu, setting up of support services to increase economic viability of the project and restoration of old seaports along the railway.



Source: Arab News©

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11 April 2001 01:26:04 PM

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