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New Delhi, July 21, 2020
As many as 16 prospective applicants attended the pre-application conference on the private train project organised by the Railway Ministry here today.
The Ministry had invited 12 Request for Qualifications for private participation in the operation of passenger train services in more than 109 Origin Destination pair of routes through the introduction of 151 modern trains (rakes) which will be in addition to the existing trains operated on the network.
This is the first initiative of private investment for running passenger trains over the Indian Railways 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, the introduction of modern technology rolling stock and services that would improve the overall travel experience of the 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 private entities for undertaking the project will be selected through a two-stage competitive bidding process comprising of Request for Qualification (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP).
As part of the bidding process, the Ministry conducted the first pre-Application Conference. The issues and concerns raised by the prospective applicants were discussed and clarifications were provided by the Railway officials and NITI Aayog on the provisions of RFQ and bidding framework. The queries were mainly related to eligibility criteria, bid process, procurement of rakes, operations of trains and composition of clusters.
There were queries on haulage charges for which the Ministry replied that it would be specified upfront and be suitably indexed for the entire concession period.
The Ministry will also be providing the details of passenger traffic being handled on the routes under the bidding. This will enable bidders to undertake their due diligence in the project.
The trains to be operated under the project can be either purchased or taken on lease by the private entities. The risks concerning the operation of trains will be allocated to the parties in an equitable manner.
The Ministry will be providing written replies to the queries received from the prospective applicants by July 31. The second pre-application conference is scheduled for August 12.