Indian Railways likely to witness fast track development with boost from private players! Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal recently highlighted the need for support from the private sector in order to accelerate the fast-track development of the Indian Railways network. The Minister dismissed the speculations of privatisation of the network, but stressed on the need for a public-private partnership (PPP) funding model, according to a PTI report. Referring to the fact that some of the trains on the network still operate slowly due to lack of required infrastructure, he stated that he wishes to end the era of slow-moving trains.
This can be done by making way for fast speed-driven electric trains as well as mainline electric multiple unit (MEMU) trains on the network, similar to the trains which are run in Mumbai suburban routes, with the help of the private sector. While explaining the reforms for the national transporter, Goyal stated that Indian Railways wants to attract an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore in the next 12 years and will increase passenger-friendly facilities and good trains through the concept of modernisation. The huge investment will be impossible through the rail and government budgets hence the PPP funding model is the way out for fast track development.
Piyush Goyal explained that due to the inadequate investments in Indian Railways in the past, the government had faced the burden, and the demand of ticket-seekers in some of the trains was more than 150 per cent. Hence, the necessary boost from the private sector and PPP funding model are likely to accelerate the development of the network. Additionally, tenders had been issued recently for the station infrastructure development for few Indian Railway stations namely Amritsar, Nagpur, Sabarmati, Gwalior under the PPP model. Tenders may be issued in the next few for the redevelopment of Indore and other stations under the same model, he added.
According to the report, Goyal also announced that a special train will soon operate from Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, which will be run by IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation). This train will give make travelling easier for the devotees of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.