New Delhi, September 18: The Modi government has started the process of privatisation of the Indian Railways. As many as 151 trains on 109 routes will be run by private operators as part of the first phase of privatisation of the Indian Railways. Private players have been asked to submit their interest in running these 151 trains even as the opposition parties are wary of the privatisation of the national transporter. They alleged the poor people's lifeline is being taken away. Indian Railways Invites Private Companies to Run 151 Passengers Trains, Says 'Move Will Increase Employment, Bring New Technology'.
How Private Players Are Selected?
Private companies interested in operating these 151 trains will be selected through a two-stage competitive bidding process comprising of Request for Qualification (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP). The due date for the opening of RFQ is October 7, 2020. The Private Entity shall pay to Indian Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in Gross Revenue determined through a transparent bidding process.
A total of 23 companies, including some PSUs, have shown interest in operating private trains in the country. The list of interested players included Alstom Transport India Limited (Ltd), BEML, Bharat Forge, BHEL, Bombardier Transportation India, CAF India Private Ltd, Gateway Rail and GMR Infrastructure Ltd among others.
Who Will Decide Fare of Private Trains?
According to a report by Bloomberg, Indian Railways will allow private companies that will operate these 151 trains to decide the fare. "Private players have been given the freedom to fix fares in their own way," Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav was quoted as saying in the report. The fares that private train operators decide will weigh in factors including airfares that come in the same segment and also AC bus fares, and the charges will be fixed after comparing them, he had said earlier. "I do not think that the fares fixed by private train operators will be too high, if they want to keep financial viability," he had hoped.
What Government Wants to Achieve With Privatisation of Railways?
According to Yadav, privatisation of Indian Railways will increase employment opportunities, bring in new technology and also enable the national transporter to provide trains on demand. The Railways is expected to receive total haulage charges of around Rs 3,000 crore per annum from the operation of these 151 trains. Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant described it as a "win-win" situation for both the Railways and private investors.
Kant yesterday said the private companies will bring new technologies and fill the gap between the demand and supply of train seats. "We are looking at 109 Origin Destination pairs, divided into 12 clusters requiring 151 trains. They are being taken up for transparent competitive bidding and some most attractive routes, based on huge unmet demand, will be put out to run premium passenger services," he said. Kant added this means that you will have quality trains, new technology and they will use railway infrastructure.