In a big and much-awaited developmental move, the Ministry of Indian Railways started to invite qualification calls from the private players to set up train-service for more than a hundred routes across the country.
According to reports, the Railway Ministry invited qualification proposals from private entities with a prospect to set up 151 world-class trains running over 191-pairs of routes across the nation.
Indian Railways, that dates back to India’s colonial past, is one of the nation’s largest employer and over the years have become one of the most extensive rail networks in the world. But with years in service, and mostly an imbalance in usage and renovation, the infrastructure has fallen behind the rest of the world.
“The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world-class travel experience to passengers,” railways said in a statement.
What will privatization bring?
Investment from the private players that will reportedly touch 30,000 crores when fixed is expected to breathe a new lease of life in the current aging infrastructure. Private companies successfully run trains in nations like the US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan and are unparalleled with their service ranging across hygiene, maintenance, punctuality, and so on.
This new move by the national carrier, with a project duration of 35-years, is supposed to usher a new way for the country’s precious asset. Uplifting the infrastructure will reduce service time, increase safety-standards, and deliver world-class traveling experience, with rakes running at least 160Km/hr. Furthermore, this move will propel the national railways to better overall infrastructure and catch-up with the airways that have over time spawned some fancy airports.
The upcoming project, if manifested, will include 109 pairs of original destination-routes that will have private trains with a minimum 16 (majorly made-in-India) coaches, zooming to and fro 12 clusters spread across the rail network. Private companies will finance, procure as well as operate and maintain the rakes, according to reports.
Private companies will also pay the national carrier fixed haulage charge, energy charge as per consumed, and a share of the gross revenue earned in a transparent bidding process.
(Cover image courtesy of UY Scuti via Commons)