The Ministry of Indian Railways conducted the first virtual Pre-bid Meeting with the private investors on 21 July to kickstart the plan to allow private operators to run passenger trains in their network.
16 Prospective private investors participated in online bidding. According to sources, some notable companies who attended the meeting are IRCTC, BHEL, RITES, Bharat Forge, Bombardier, GMR group, Gatewayrail, Vedanta, Medtha, CAF(Australian Firm). It has been confirmed TATA and Adani, two Indian giants are eyeing the project, however, they haven’t taken part in the First Pre-bid. Also, there was a discussion about SpiceJet, IndiGo, and MakeMyTrip to participate in the bidding.
The Project is to aim at inviting private investors to run passenger trains on 109 important routes. The multiple operators in the operations will create competition and will improve service. The Union Ministry of railways also said that this mega project will also create a scope of job opportunities, boost revenues, and will bring new technologies.
151 new private train will ply in addition to the trains which have already been running.
In a statement, the Railway ministry said, “This is the first initiative of private investment for running Passenger Trains over Indian Railway Network. The project would entail a private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore. The initiative is towards improving the availability of transportation services to the people of this nation, introduce modern technology rolling stock and services that would improve the overall travel experience of passengers. Multiple operators in train operations will create competition and improve service delivery. This initiative is also intended at reducing the demand-supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector,” the ministry added.
The Ministry has clarified the trains can be operated under the project by either purchase or lease taken by the private entities. The risk attached to the operation of trains will be allocated to the parties equally.
All Queries and Questions submitted will be answered by 31st July. After the second bidding, the answers to all questions will be submitted by 21st August.
The Railway is aiming to complete the bidding process and to start the first privately operated train on the tracks by March 2023.