Private train operations in India will begin by April 2023. The financial bidding to be finalised by April 2021.
The ticket fares in these trains will be competitive with airfares on similar routes, the Railways said July 2.
However, several leaders of the opposition parties objected to this decision and asked the Centre to reconsider the decision.
Read on to find out more…
5% Private Participation in Railways!
Addressing a press conference online, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said that private players in passenger train operations will mean a quantum jump in technology and coaches that run at higher speeds.
His statement came a day after the Railways formally kickstarted its plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains on its network by inviting Request For Qualifications (RFQ) for participation on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains.
Waiving off the fears that the Railways network was being handed over to private parties, Yadav told the Thursday press conference that private participation in passenger train operations will only be 5% of the existing 2800 Mail/ Express trains over Indian Railways.
He said, “Train sets have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them. Private train operations are likely to begin by April 2023, all coaches will be procured under Make in India policy. Fares in private trains will be competitive and prices on other modes of transport like airlines, buses will have to be kept in mind.”
Yadav expects the financial bidding for private trains by February or March and to finalise financial bids by April 2021.
He also said, “Over a period of time in the last 70 years, we have not been able to develop our railway infrastructure in such a way that we can provide travel services to all our passengers. That has been the focus in the last 6 years. We should be able to provide trains on demand for each and every passenger.”
When asked whether Chinese firms will be allowed to bid, Yadav said, “ There are guidelines under the Make In India Policy by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and we will follow them.”
Yadav said, “Through this the common man will get better trains, better technology and at low cost. The Indian Railways will continue to run 95% of the trains.”
The Advantages Of Privatisation Of Railways For Passengers!
The private trains will operate in 12 clusters, including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Prayagraj, Secunderabad, Howrah, Chennai.
Yadav also said that the introduction of private players would also mean that trains will be available on demand and that passenger waitlists will decrease. ¨
The passenger sector requirement in 2019-2020 was 8.4 billion. This means, he said, we could not provide reservation to around 5 crore passengers every year. The average drop in the waiting list was 8.9% in 2019-2020. During peak season, 13.3% were not able to get confirmed reservations.
The Advantages Of Privatisation Of Railways For The Govt!
The enhanced technology application will also mean that the coaches that now require maintenance after running 4,000 km, will need maintenance after every 40,000-km, that is either once or twice a month, according to him.
He said that the private operators will also pay fixed haulage charges for path, stations, access to railway infrastructure and charges for electricity consumed. It will also share revenue with Indian Railways through competitive bidding.
He also said that Railways is currently operating in losses in the passenger segment and it aims to meet its expenditure through a minimum guaranteed cost that the private players will have to pay the Indian Railways. The project would entail a private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
The private players have to ensure 95% punctuality and record not more than 1 failure per lakh kilometre of travel. If any performance indicators are not met by private entities in passenger train operations they will be penalised.
He also said that there will be a power meter in every locomotive and private operators will pay for the actual amount of energy consumed. This will encourage them to keep their energy consumption low.
The Opposition Against the Privatisation Of Indian Railways!
Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress said, “Now poor man’s rail is moving towards privatization. Your words have always differed from your actions. If PM’s words lose importance then what can one say about the direction in which country is moving.
Mahua Moitra, TMC took to Twitter and said…
Ashok Gehlot, Congress said, “Privatisation of railways is a decision which goes against the common people of the country. It is indeed the lifeline, as Rahul Gandhiji said and this service should not be privatised.”
Sitaram Yechury, CPM, tweeted…