Private train operations: L&T, GMR, Welspun to participate in RFP stage for 12 clusters

The project envisages private investment to the tune of ₹30,000 crore for running passenger trains over the rail network for the first time.

Firms like L&T, GMR, Welspun are among top firms that have been found eligible to participate in the RFP stage for private participation in passenger train services over 12 clusters comprising 151 trains, according to an official statement on Thursday.

The railway ministry received 120 applications from 16 firms at the RFP stage, out of which 102 applications were found eligible for the RFP stage.

The project envisages private investment to the tune of ₹30,000 crore for running passenger trains over the rail network for the first time.

The private entities for undertaking the project would be selected through a transparent two-stage competitive bidding process comprising request for qualification (RFQ) and request for proposal (RFP).

The RFQ for 12 clusters were published on July 1, 2020.

The applications were opened on October 7, 2020, the application due date. The ministry has received excellent response. In all, 120 applications have been received for the 12 clusters, from 16 applicant firms.

“MoR (Ministry of Railways) has completed the evaluation of applications. Out of 120 applications, 102 applications are found eligible to participate in the RFP stage,” the ministry said in a statement.

The firms that have made the applications for the clusters include Arvind Aviation, BHEL, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarrriles, S.A, Cube Highways and Infrastructure III Pvt Ltd, and Gateway Rail freight Limited.

They also include GMR Highways Ltd, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd, and IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd, and Malempati Power Private Ltd, among others.

With high footfall and revenue, firms showed the most interest in Delhi and Mumbai clusters.

While applications by 19 firms each have been found eligible for the two Mumbai and Delhi clusters, Chandigarh and Chennai clusters had five eligible applicants. Prayagraj, Jaipur and Secunderabad clusters had nine eligible applicants each, while Howrah, Bengaluru and Patna clusters had eight eligible applicants each.

The Indian Railways plans to begin private train operations by March 2023, with 12 trains, according to an internal projection. By 2027, the Railways plans to bring in 151 such services.

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