Rly invites private players to fortify tracks

Rly invites private players to fortify tracks

With limited financial resources proving to be a roadblock in expansion of its infrastructure, the Indian Railway is exploring private investment in infrastructure project like erecting walls on the sides of rail tracks in and around Delhi.

The project of fortifying the tracks across the Delhi area, ideated after the Mumbai terror attacks, is aimed at protecting the railway property from the miscreants apart from checking fatal accidents.

The Northern Railway last week issued ‘Expression of Interest’, inviting private players to construct walls on either side of the tracks between Nizamuddin and Palwal railway stations, and in turn earn revenue by advertising on the walls.

“The Nizamuddin-Palwal stretch has been selected as the pilot project as several high-speed trains operate on the stretch. Since, the area on the sides of the track is very open, it witnesses lots of trespassing, both by the people and cattle, divisional railway manager of Delhi, Anurag Sachan said.

Sachan also added that similar projects will be taken up on the other stretches of the divisions if the Nizamuddin-Palwal stretch becomes a success.

The length of rail tracks between the two stations is around 50 km. With the cost construction estimated to be around Rs 2 crore per kilometre, the entire project will cost Rs 100 crore.

According to the Expression of Interest issued, the contractors should construct 2.5 metre high wall on both the sides, with additional fencing of the wall with concertina wires, officials said.

The investor, in return will be allowed to earn revenue by allowing advertisement on the walls as well as erecting 1.2 metre high poles on the walls for advertisement.

The officer said the advertisement rights will be given for a certain number of years.
“Since Railway will continue to retain the ownership of the land, the advertisement rights will be given to other companies by open bidding after the contract of the builder will cease. It will generate extra revenue for railway,” Sachan said.

The Expression of Interest is valid till the mid of December, during which the interested parties are required to submit their plan of action and terms and condition. Then the tendering process will be started.

“The contract will be given through open bidding process,” the DRM said.
Meanwhile, measures like prosecuting trespassers by the railway authorities under section 147 of the Railway Act – which invites cash penalty or imprisonment or both – has failed to yield result.

A total of 823 people have lost their lives in accidents on rail tracks till September this year in the Delhi area. While a total of 1,485 people died on rail tracks in the area last year.

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