Days after the Indian Railways allowed IRCTC to run a passenger train, the national transporter has started the process of allowing private companies to operate 150 trains and 50 railway stations.
NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant has written a letter to Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav saying, “As you are already aware that the Ministry of Railways has also decided to bring in private train operators for passenger train operations and is contemplating to take up 150 trains in the first phase."
On allowing private companies to operate 50 railway stations, Kant said so far only few stations have given to private companies to operate after modernisation. This has to speed up and set the target to privatise at least 50 stations in the first phase, Kant said.
For the successful implementation of these projects, Kant said members of (Engineering) Railway Board and Member and (Traffic) Railway Board must be involved in the empowered group. To implement this, the Niti Ayog also suggested to constitute an empowered Group of Secretaries comprising CEO of NITI Aayog, Railway Board Chairman, Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs and Secretary of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Top railway officials have already met recently to identify potential routes where private operators can be allowed to run the train with more passenger friendly facilities.
In a first step towards privatising train operations, a part of 100 days agenda of the second term of the Modi government, the national transporter allowed IRCTC to operate Lucknow-New Delhi Tejas Express starting from October 5. The public response for this train was very good as it is running with full capacity, said an official from the railway.