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Bumper privatisation move in Indian Railways! Task force planned for 50 private railway stations, 150 trains

Devanjana Nag

More Indian Railways’ trains and stations to be privatized? The Modi government is currently in the process of forming a task force to draw a blueprint for handing over operations of as many as 150 trains and a total of 50 railway stations to private operators. The Indian Railways trains and railways stations are likely to be handed over to private players in a time-bound manner.

According to a PTI report, a letter sent by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant to Chairman of Railway Board VK Yadav states that an empowered group will be constituted in order to "drive the process". Other than Yadav and Kant, the Secretary of Department of Economic Affairs and Secretary under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will also be a part of the empowered group, the report said.

According to Kant, while Indian Railways is required to take up as many as 400 railway stations for development into world-class stations, so far, very few stations have been upgraded. He further said that a detailed discussion with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was done wherein it was discussed that the matter should be taken up on priority for at least 50 railway stations. Kant further said that the Railway Ministry has decided to bring in private operators to run passenger trains and is also contemplating to take up as many as 150 trains in the first phase. Also, the Engineering Railway Board and Member under the Traffic Railway Board must also be involved in the empowered group, he added.

Watch Video: Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express Hindi review

On October 4, the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express was flagged off. It is the first private train to run on Indian Railways network by a non-railway operator, its own subsidiary- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The train runs between Lucknow and Delhi, six days a week except on Tuesdays. The fully air-conditioned train consists of nine AC chair car coaches and one executive class chair car coach, with a total carrying capacity of 758 passengers.