Indian Railways has completed the process of evaluating applications for public-private partnership (PPP) in passenger train operations. Out of 120 applications,102 have been found eligible to participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage. Infrastructure majors such as Larsen & Toubro (L&T), GMR and BHEL are among the 102 eligible applicants qualified to bid in the first stage. This is the first major initiative in the country to attract private investment in passenger train operations.
The Railways had started taking application from October 7, 2020. Private entities for undertaking the project would be selected through a transparent two-stage competitive bidding process comprising of RFQ and RFP.
In July, Indian Railways had announced the introduction of 151 modern trains, and invited requests for qualification (RFQ) for private participation in passenger train operations over 12 clusters covering more than 150 routes. The Railways - which is one of the world's largest employers - had sought private investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
Some of the leading applicants which have qualified for participating in the various clusters in the RFP stage are GMR Highways, Cube Highways and Infrastructure, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), IRB Infrastructure Developers, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects and Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Welspun Enterprises.
The qualified applicants who will participate in the RFP stage are spread over 12 clusters. These location-specific clusters include Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Howrah, Chennai, Patna, Prayagraj, Jaipur, Secunderabad and Bengaluru.
The applicants will participate in the RFP stage of public-private partnership in the passenger train operations project. (Also Read: L&T Bags Over ₹ 7,000-Crore Contract For Bullet Train Project )
Meanwhile, several railway stations across the country are being redeveloped on the PPP model by Indian Railways PSU Indian Railways Station Development Corporation (IRSDC).
Among the first stations to be ready post-redevelopment are the Habibganj and Gandhinagar stations which will boast of airport-like facilities such as transit-oriented development, environment-friendly green building, separate boarding and deboarding platforms.
Almost 98 per cent civil work for the Habibganj station is completed, while 93 per cent civil work for the Gandhinagar station is fulfilled. The Gandhinagar station is the first station which will boast of a five-star railway station above railway tracks.