New Delhi: Even as the Indian Railways plans to introduce first set of 12 private trains in 2023, followed by 45 more in the next fiscal, according to an initial timeline drawn by the railways, the national transporter has called a pre-bid conference for the interested private players to seek clarifications, officials privy to the development said on Tuesday.
A senior Railway Ministry official told IANS, “A pre-bid conference is going on currently where the interested private players can raise their queries and the railways will revert to them with clarification in the coming days.”
The official said that in this conference the private parties may ask for some clarifications or may give some suggestions to the Railways. “And after a careful study Railways will reply to them,” he said.
Another railway ministry official said that till Monday evening, about 15 parties have downloaded the forms by paying Rs 2 lakh fee. “These 15 parties have shown initial interest, but there are sufficient numbers that the people are coming forward,” the official added.
The national transporter in a formal kick-start to its plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains on its network, this month invited proposals from companies to run 151 modern passenger trains on 109 pairs of routes across the country. The project would entail a private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
As part of the plan for private trains, the railways has planned to introduce 12 trains in 2022-23, 45 in 2023-2024, 50 in 2025-26 and 44 more in the next fiscal, taking the total number of trains to 151 by the end of FY2026-2027.
The request for qualification (RFQ), which was floated on July 8, is likely to be finalised by November, the financial bids will be opened by March, 2021 and selection of bidders is planned by April 31, 2021, according to a timeline for introduction of private passenger trains prepared by the railways.