The Ministry of Railways said it expects multiple operators in train operations to create competition and improve service delivery.
The Ministry of Railways on July 21 said 16 prospective applicants participated in the first pre application conference on private train project.
Ministry of Railways has invited 12 Request for Qualifications for private participation in operation of passenger train services over 109 Origin Destination pair of routes through introduction of 151 modern trains, which shall be in addition to the existing trains.
The issues and concerns raised by the prospective applicants were discussed and clarifications were provided by the officials of Ministry of Railways and NITI Aayog. The queries were mainly related to eligibility criteria, bid process, procurement of rakes, operations of trains and composition of clusters.
On haulage charges, Railways said the charges will be specified upfront and will be suitably indexed for the entire concession period.
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).
Ministry of Railways will also be providing the details of passenger traffic being handled on the routes under biding. This will enable bidders to undertake their due diligence in the project.
Railways has clarified that trains to be operated under the project can be either purchased or taken on lease by the private entities. Ministry of Railways has also said risks with regard to operation of trains shall be allocated to the parties in an equitable manner.Railways said it will provide written replies to the queries by July 31, 2020. The second pre-application conference is scheduled to be held on August 12.