In a major step aimed at privatisation of Indian Railways, the Centre on Thursday decided to give 150 trains and 50 railway stations to private companies in a time-bound manner. Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has written a letter to Railway Ministry informing about the Centre’s decision. Kant has said in his letter than an empowered group will be constituted to “drive the process”.
“Considering the recent experience in privatization of 6 Airports a similar process for setting up an Empowered Group of Secretaries to drive the process is required,” Kant said in the letter addressed to Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav says.
“As you are already aware that the Ministry of Railways has also decided to bring in private train operators for passenger train operation and is contemplating to take up 150 trains in the first phase. This would also bring in a paradigm shift in the operation of passenger trains over Indian Railways. The aforesaid Empowered Group of Secretaries may also be also be tasked to drive this initiative also,” added the letter.
Tejas Express – the first private train run by railways’ subsidiary IRCTC – was flagged off on October 4 by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The Tejas Express runs on Lucknow-New Delhi route and it provides several benefits to its passengers, including combination meals, free insurance of up to Rs 25 lakh and compensation in case of delays.
Tejas Express leaves Lucknow at 6:10 am and touches New Delhi Railway station at 12:25 pm, covering the entire distance in 6 hours and 15 minutes. The journey time of the train is lesser than the Swarn Shatabdi, which is currently the fastest train on the route.