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infrastructure | IST

Railways constitutes NITI Aayog-led secretary panel to privatise 150 trains, 50 stations

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The ministry of railways has constituted a panel of secretaries led by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant to oversee the entry of private operators for 150 trains and development of 50 railway stations as per global standards

The ministry of Railways has constituted a panel of secretaries led by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant to oversee the entry of private operators for 150 trains and development of 50 railway stations as per global standards.
Other members of the panel will include Railway board Chairman, Economic Affairs secretary, Housing and urban affairs secretary and Railways financial commissioner. Member (Traffic) and Member (Engineering) of the Railway Board will be members for their respective projects.
The Empowered Group of Secretaries has been constituted two days after Kant wrote a letter to Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav about the dismal performance of railways in developing 400 railway stations as world-class facilities.
“Despite the fact that the aforesaid commitment was given for last several years, the actual implementation of the same has not happened except for a few isolated cases in which a few stations have been taken up through EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) Mode,” Kant had said in the letter dated October 07.
“It is requested that the matter may be considered suitable and necessary orders of the Railway Minister may be taken,” the letter had further added.
The panel of secretaries, whose tenure will be for a period of one year, will approve and monitor the bidding process. The panel will also take decisions to ensure the projects are awarded in a time-bound manner.
In order to set the backdrop for privatization drive, Railways has already planned several dedicated passenger corridors fit for 160 km per hour and freight corridors fit for 100 km per hour throughout the country with priority for high-traffic Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes.
The speed up-gradation project has also been planned for golden quadrilateral and diagonal routes such as New Delhi-Chennai, Chennai-Howrah, Chennai-Mumbai, and Mumbai-Howrah. Three new dedicated freight corridors have also been planned on Delhi-Chennai, Howrah-Mumbai, and Kharagpur – Vijayawada.