new Delhi. The private sector can start operating passenger trains in the country from April 2023. Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said that the private sector will operate only 5 percent passenger trains, the remaining 95 percent trains will be operated by the Indian Railways as before. Yadav said that the fare of trains run by the private sector will be competitive on these routes as per the air and bus fares. The entry of private sector will speed up train operations and change the technology of railway coaches.
The government has allowed private trains to run on 109 rail routes through 151 modern trains. Indian Railways operates around 2800 mail or express trains. Yadav said that private companies will buy trains. He will also be responsible for their maintenance.
Yadav said that the train coaches, which still need maintenance after every 4,000 km journey, will increase the limit to about 40,000 km due to improved technology. With this, they have to be maintained only once or twice a month. In this, all the coaches of the train will be purchased under the Make in India policy. He said that one of the motives of bringing private companies in passenger train operations is that they will be made available on demand basis, which will reduce the waiting list in trains.
Yadav said that in the financial year 2019-20, the number of railway passengers was 8.4 billion, while we are not able to provide seats to about five crore people every year. In the last 70 years, we could not develop railway infrastructure in such a way that it could serve all passengers. This has received attention in the last six years. We should be able to provide travel service to every passenger on demand basis. Private train operational planning is part of the continuation of developing our infrastructure.
Yadav said that companies will also have to pay fees for the use of railway infrastructure, electricity, stations and railroads etc. Not only this, companies will also have to share revenue with Indian Railways by placing competitive bids. He said that at present, the railway is operating passenger trains at a loss. Railways aim to meet its expenditure with minimum guaranteed cost.
Private passenger trains will be operated in packages such as Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Prayagraj, Secunderabad, Howrah and Chennai. Yadav hoped to get financial bids for private trains by February and March next year and a final consensus on these would be reached by April 2021. The scheme is expected to invest Rs 30,000 crore from the private sector. Its bids have been prepared in such a way that Indian Railways will be able to recover their minimum guaranteed costs.
Yadav said that if private companies fail to meet any performance standards related to passenger train operations, they will be fined. Every train engine will also have a power meter and companies will have to pay the actual amount of electricity consumed by them. This will encourage them to reduce their electricity expenditure.
This post was published on July 3, 2020 8:46 am
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