With a view to improving upon the facilities and enhance the available amenities, Indian Railways has been planning to privatize some of its fleet across the nation. The long discussion came to an end in the recent joint press meet of Railway Board chairman VK Yadav, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Thursday (Sep 17). In the press conference, the honorable chairman mentioned that part privatization of the railways will create a win-win situation for both the Indian railways as well as the investors, and also the rail users across India.
What’s the Roadmap as per the Privatization Plan of Indian Railways?
The Railway ministry provided details on the roadmap, timelines, and implementation framework for two major initiatives for which the national transporter is seeking private investment-
- Running of passenger trains by private operators on the existing Railways network, and
- Redevelopment of railway stations across the country.
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What’s the Benefit of Privatization on Indian Railways Fleet?
According to Indian Railways, these projects could potentially usher in an investment of over $7.5 billion in the next five years. Railways are hoping to attract $4 billion in investments with private passenger train services. Apart from this, healthy competition would promote efficiency and might result in reduced fares, for both passenger and freight segments.
Is Indian Railways Really Being Privatized?
Talking about the privatization initiatives and rumors going on around the nation, the CEO of Niti Aayog said in the joint press conference that:
We are not privatizing Indian Railways. This is a public-private partnership. Private entities will source and operate trains using the Indian Railways infrastructure. This is a win-win situation for the private sector and the Indian Railways. We want railways to be the major driver of India’s growth story,”.
Roles and Responsibilities of Private Players in This Privatization Move
The private train operator will be responsible for
- Finance, design, procurement, maintenance, operation of trains
- Setup or up-gradation of the depot for train maintenance.
- Fulfillment of KPIs on punctuality, reliability, and upkeep of trains.
- Sourcing trainsets via domestic production in a phased manner (only three trains can be imported).
The Indian Railways will provide
- Access to track and other fixed infrastructure a
- Right of way, access to the depot site as well as access to the washing line
- Priority at par with Indian Railways’ premium trains.
- Loco pilots and guards.
The Railways Privatization Road Map
Indian Railways has identified 12 independent clusters with 109 origin-destination routes. On these routes, as many as 151 passenger trains are expected to be operated by private players.
The 12 clusters are as follows:
The Bidding Process would be completed by February 2021. The award will be done through a two-stage bidding process. The first stage involves RFQ for pre-qualification based on financial capacity (50% of the estimated cost of the project) and the second stage involves RFP- financial bidding.
While a lot of things would un-fold with this move to privatize few of the Indian Railway fleet, a lot improvement is being expected out of this very novel initiative by Indian Railways. RailRecipe, your travel food buddy would keep you posted on how everything un-folds in near future.
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