Privatization Hits Indian Railways: Rajdhani, Shatabdi Express Can Be Run By Private Operators
And finally, it’s happening.
Indian Railways has decided to adapt and embrace privatization in a big way.
Very soon, private operators will be asked to run important trains such as Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express and some passenger trains as well.
Will Railway employees accept this new world?
Privatization Of Rajdhani, Shatabdi Express?
Last year, Govt. think-tank Niti Aayog had proposed Indian Railways’ privatization via report titled ‘New India’.
Now, as per incoming reports, the suggestions mentioned in the report can be finally accepted.
If that happens, then Indian Railways will allocate trains in some routes with less traffic and some special, seasonal tourist routes to private operators.
This also include the prestigioius Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express, which can be now run by private operators.
How Will This Start?
As per the report, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will soon create a special tourist route, and will allocate two trains to run on it.
These two trains, on an experimental basis, will be run by private operators.
An open tender will be floated in the next 4 months, wherein the applicants will have to prove that they can run entire operations of the trains: right from ticket bookings, to ticket checking, running the time within the time, catering services and more.
As per unnamed railways officials, Employee Unions will be consulted with, before taking the final decision.
If this proposal is accepted, and private operators are allowed to operate and run trains, then it will be a big boost for the privatization of Indian Railways.
Privatisation of Indian Railways: Progress So Far
Niti Aayog and special committees created by Indian Railways have recommended more participation of private players in the operations and working of Indian Railways.
And the process has already started. As of now, except running the trains, most of the other tasks have been opened for private players, gradually.
For example, coach and locomotive manufacturing and repairs; ownership of locomotives, freight terminals and rolling stock, besides maintaining railway stations have been tasked out to private operators, in the last 2 years.
IRSDC, the nodal authority on railway station development has already outsourced major repair and restructuring of railway stations to 5 CPSEs: NPCC, Engineering Projects, MECON, RITES, Bridges & Roof Co.
Besides, companies such as Adani Group, JSW Cement, Jindal Steel and Power, Tata Steel, Rashmi Cement and Orissa Metaliks have shown interest to manufacture and maintain coaches under general purpose wagon scheme.
However, allowing private operators to run entire trains remains the biggest privatization step every taken by Indian Railways.
We will keep you updated, as more details come in.