Days after the Railways invited bids for running 151 passenger trains on 109 pairs of routes across the country, it said on Wednesday that 120 applications have been received from 15 firms for 12 clusters.
A Railway Ministry statement said that the applications were received in response to a request for qualifications (RFQs) for public-private partnership (PPP) mode in passenger train operations.
"The Railways has received an excellent response. In all, 120 applications have been received for 12 clusters," he said.
The applicants are Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited, Sainath Sales and Services Pvt Ltd, IRB Infrastructure Developers Limited, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited, GMR Highways Limited, Welspun Enterprises Limited, Gateway Rail freight Limited, Cube Highways and Infrastructure III Pvt Ltd, Malempati Power Private Limited, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Limited, RK Associates and Hoteliers Pvt Ltd, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarrriles, SA, PNC Infratech Ltd, Arvind Aviation and BHEL.
Nine RFQs were received for the Mumbai 1 cluster, 12 for Mumbai 2 cluster, 10 for Delhi 1, 12 for Delhi 2, 9 each for Chandigarh, Howrah, Chennai and Patna, 10 for Prayagraj, Secunderabad and Jaipur and 11 for Bengaluru cluster.
The Railways had invited RFQs for private participation in operations on 140 Origin Destination pair of routes through 151 modern trains to increase its high-quality trains on the network.
The Railways held two meetings for private train operators -- one on July 21, in which 16 companies participated; and the second on August 12 in which 23 companies, including foreign firms, participated.
The project would entail private sector investment of around Rs 30,000 crore.
As part of its privatisation plan, the Railways aims to introduce 12 trains in 2022-23, 45 in 2023-2024, 50 in 2025-26 and 44 in 2026-27, taking the total to 151.
The RFQ, floated on July 1, is likely to be finalised by November. The national transporter targets to award all the clusters by February 2021.
The last date for submission of applications was September 8, whereas the shortlisted companies would be announced on November 8.
The Ministry said that private entities would be selected through a transparent two-stage competitive bidding process comprising of RFQs and Request for Proposal (RFP).