Indian Railways has invited interested parties to submit a Request for Qualification (RFQ) document by January 17 for selection of private parties to operate 150 passenger trains on 100 routes.
The Ministry of Railways and NITI Aayog said the indicative cost of investment would be about ₹22,500 crore.
As per the draft proposal, the Ministry has grouped routes into 12 clusters that are to be operated through Public Private Partnership (PPP) on design, build, finance and operate basis, with a concession period of 35 years. Railways will adopt a 2-stage bidding process for selecting bidders. The first stage involves qualification. Short-listed applicants will be eligible to take part in the second stage comprising Request for Proposals.
The entire project is expected to be awarded in about 180 days from January 2020. Each bidder is entitled to bid for a maximum of three clusters. Selection would be based on highest revenue share. The project work broadly includes designing, procurement, financing and operation and maintenance of passenger trains comprising a minimum of 16 coaches with the right to collect market-linked fares.
Mumbai-New Delhi, Chennai-Okhla, Howrah-Chennai, New Delhi-Howrah, Shalimar-Pune and New Delhi-Patna are some of the routes on which private trains will operate.
“The idea here is to meet the huge unmet demand that led to loss of passenger business to other modes in recent times,” said a senior official.
Quoting a market assessment study, he said during 2017-18, total reserve passengers were 0.65 billion, whereas waitlisted passengers were 88.5 billion.