Ministry of Railways organized Pre application conference on Private Train Project yesterday (21st July 2020). The conference received an over-whelming response with participation of around 16 prospective Applicants including Bombardier, GMR, Bharat Forge, BHEL, IRCTC, Medha, CAF and Gateway Rail.
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 (Rakes) which shall be in addition to the existing trains operated on the network.
This is the first initiative of private investment for running Passenger Trains over Indian Railway Network. The project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
The initiative is towards improving the availability of transportation services to the people of this Nation, introduce modern technology rolling stock and services that would improve the overall travel experience of passengers. Multiple operators in train operations will create competition and improve service delivery. This initiative is also intended at reducing demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector.
The private entities for undertaking the projected will be selected through a two-stage competitive bidding process comprising of Request for Qualification (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP).
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 for improved clarity on the provisions of RFQ and bidding framework. The queries were mainly related eligibility criteria, bid process, procurement of rakes, operations of trains and composition of clusters.
There were queries on haulage charges for which Ministry of Railways has replied that haulage charges will be specified upfront and will be suitably indexed for the entire concession period thereby bringing certainty in the haulage charges.
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
Ministry of 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 clarified that risks with regard to operation of trains shall be allocated to the parties in an equitable manner.
Ministry of Railways will be providing written replies to the queries received from the prospective Applicants by July 31, 2020. The second pre-application conference is scheduled on 12 Aug 2020.