The Ministry of Railways has decided to put on hold the tender for running 151 private trains along 109 major routes with an estimated investment of ₹30,000 crore and will revaluate the process mainly due to tepid response on the bids from private players, according to officials aware of the development.
“The tender for the private trains has been called off and the entire process will be revalued due to lower participation from private firms. Railways will issue a fresh tender for the same,” a senior ministry official said.
Of the 12 clusters put up for bidding, only three saw any bid at all, the official said.
The national carrier, on July 1, 2020, began the formal process of allowing private trains on 109 routes—a process that aimed to, for the first time, open up one of the government’s most prominent enterprises.
However, only two bidders, the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and was Megha Engineering & Infrastructures evinced interest in the financial bidding stage where IRCTC majority-owned by the government was touted to get the contract after quoting a higher revenue share figure.
This, officials said, raised questions on the purpose of running trains via private players.