Vijayawada: Private train services will soon be a reality in the two Telugu states if the Niti Aayog has its way of promoting private sector participation in the Indian Railways.
The Niti Aayog proposed five routes for introducing train services by private players. The Charlapalli-Srikakulam, Lingampalli-Tirupati and Guntur-Lingampalli routes were selected for operating daily service while tri-weekly services will be offered on the Vijayawada-Visakhapat-nam and Visakhapatnam-Tirupati routes.
The routes selected for privatisation are known for heavy passenger traffic not only during the festival season but during the normal days too. On an average, the reservation of berths in most of these routes would be complete at least week before the date of journey.
The Niti Aayog identified 10 clusters for introducing private services and indicated that the investment would be around Rs 22,500 crore. The concession period for each route will be 35 years and the private operator will be given the flexibility of composition of classes and the stations where the trains have to halt. The operator shall procure rakes and employ the staff including drivers and guards. They can also utilise the services of existing railway employees.
The bidder providing highest revenue share will be awarded the contract to operate services.
According to a paper circulated by the Niti Aayog, the Railways would take up relief and restoration works in the event of accidents while compensation in respect of loss of life, injury and luggage are to be covered under insurance taken by the concessionaire.
It would be the responsibility of the operator to maintain punctuality wherein delay in arrival at the designated destination should not be more than 15 minutes. The operator will be allowed to revise ticket fares keeping in view the prevailing market conditions.
A private Lucknow – New Delhi Tejas Express, which was inaugurated on 4 October 2019, is India’s first train operated by private operators, IRCTC, a subsidiary of Indian Railways....