The Indian Railways is considering having private companies operate 90 train stations and is exploring several options – including looking at the arrangements at India’s privately run airports – to determine how best to set up the security infrastructure at these.
Railways, which runs the fourth-largest such network in the world, set the ball rolling in 2019 on letting private companies run and operate certain stations in a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The move, steered by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) is expected to help significantly modernise parts of a decades-old system.
The Railway Board, in a letter reviewed by HT, sought the opinion from all principal chief security commissioners of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and all zonal railways on how the security infrastructure for the 90 stations should be set up.
One of the options, it noted in the letter, would be to replicate the airports’ model where the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) – a government paramilitary unit – is contracted by the operator, which pays their salaries.