Govt looks to privatise 150 trains, 50 railway stations soon
11 October 2019
The Narendra Modi government is going ahead with large-scale privatisation of the railways and has initiated the process of privatising operations of 150 trains and 50 railway stations. The railway ministry has also formed a task force to complete the process in a “time-bound” manner.
The railway ministry has been encouraged by the public response to the privatization effort after it allowed the IRCTC to operate the Lucknow-New Delhi Tejas Express from 5 October. The train has been running on full capacity.
In a letter to Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav, Niti Aayog chief Amitabh Kant has pointed to the urgency of bringing more services under private operation in order to make railways more efficient.
“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,” the letter stated.
The government has also set up an empowered group consisting of secretary, department of economic affairs and secretary, ministry of housing and urban affairs besides Amitabh Kant and Vinod Kumar to oversee the process.
Kant said the Railways was required to upgrade 400 railway stations into world class stations but has been lagging in its efforts. The process needs to be speeded up and the Railways has set a target to privatise at least 50 stations in the first phase, he added.
“I had a detailed discussion with the minister of railways wherein it was decided that there is a necessity to take up the matter on priority for at least 50 stations. Considering the recent experience on privatisation of six airports, a similar process for setting up an empowered group of secretaries to drive the process in a time bound manner…” Kant said.