For the first time, the government welcomes private companies for operating passenger trains in India. The project will need an investment of Rs 30,000 crore and is expected to boost domestic production in line with the ‘Make in India’ pitch. The Ministry of Railways is going to permit India Inc participation in operating passenger trains. Private companies will be allowed to operate passenger trains on 109 routes through the implementation of 150 modern rakes.
The Ministry mentioned that the private company would be responsible for procurement, financing, operation, and maintenance of the trains. These domestically made trains are designed to operate at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour to reduce travel time significantly.
This initiative aims to incorporate modern technology with lesser maintenance costs, promote job creation, reduced transit time, render enhanced safety, and to provide passengers with world-class travel experience. The objective is also to bring down the demand-supply deficit within the passenger transportation sector.
Vinod Kumar Yadav, the Railway Board Chairman, mentioned that the Ministry’s decision was driven by an ambition to make the government institution ready for the future by introducing modern technology. The government intends to induct advanced technology to the railway sector and hopes that the new private trains would be faster in comparison to the fastest trains which are currently running on the Indian track.
The railway sector reported a supply shortfall of more than 8% in 2019-20, which touched 13.3% in the passenger segment during the peak season in summers. This means that 8% of all those who booked tickets in 2019-20 did not get confirmed seats. For addressing this shortfall, new infrastructure, improved capability, increased capacity, and private capital are required.
The participation of private players in railways will constitute 5% of all Indian Railways operations. These 109 Origin-Destination (OD) pairs or quotes, for which 151 new trains are scheduled to cover all major routes in 12 clusters throughout the Indian Railways network. Every train will have at least 16 coaches.
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