Only 5% Operations By Private Players In Railways, Fares To Be Competitive With Airlines: Chairman
Image Source: Deccan Herald
New Delhi: A day after the Indian Railways announced a major push for the private sector by inviting request for qualifications for passenger train operations on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav on Thursday said that only five per cent of the total operations of the Railways will be given to private players. Yadav added the private train operations would begin by April 2023 and the fares in these trains would be competitive with airfares on similar routes.
Pvt train operations are likely to begin by April 2023. All coaches to be procured under Make in India policy & fares in pvt trains to be competitive: Railway Board Chairman on pvt players in passenger train ops (PTI)
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Addressing a virtual press conference, Yadav said private players in passenger train operations would mean a quantum jump in the introduction of modern technology and high-speed coaches. Yadav added that if any performance indicators are not met by private players in passenger train operations, they will be penalised.
The improvement in technology would also mean the coaches that required maintenance after 4,000 km, would need maintenance after every 40,000 km, that’s either once or twice a month, he added.
“Private train operations are likely to begin by April 2023. All coaches will be procured under the ‘Make in India’ policy. Fares in private trains will be competitive and rates on other modes of transport, like airlines and buses, will have to be kept in mind,” he said.
He said, “Railways runs around 2,800 mail and express trains and we have invited the request for 150 trains which is only five percent of the total trains.”
The Chairman further asserted that the train sets have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them. “Fares in private trains will be competitive and prices on other modes of transport like airlines, buses have to be kept in mind while fixing the fares,” Yadav said.
Highlighting the plans of the Indian Railways, the Chairman said, the private trains will operate in 12 clusters, including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Prayagraj, Secunderabad, Howrah and Chennai.
He said that he expects financial bids for private trains by February or March and finalisation by April 2021 and Request For Quotation (ROQ) bids will be done by September.
Yadav said the private operators would pay fixed haulage charges for path, stations, access to railway infrastructure and charges for electricity consumed to the Indian Railways for 35 years. It will also share revenue with the Indian Railways through competitive bidding.
The private entity would have to ensure 95 per cent punctuality and not more than one failure per lakh kilometre of travel. “If any performance indicators are not met by private players, they will be penalised,” Yadav said.
He also said there would be a power metre in every locomotive and private operators would pay for the actual amount of energy consumed.
“Through this the common man will get better trains, better technology and at low cost. The Indian Railways will continue to run 95 per cent of the trains,” he said.
The Chairman said of the 2,800 mail express train operated by the railways, only 151 trains, just 5 per cent, was being given to the private players.
On Wednesday, the national transporter said that it has invited request for qualifications for private participation for passenger train operations on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains. It said that it plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains and the project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
(With Agency Inputs)