ormer Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday sharpened his attack on the Narendra Modi government over its moves to allow private firms to run passenger trains. He said government was taking away the lifeline of the country from the poor, and the people will give a befitting reply.
“Rail is the only lifeline of the poor and the government is taking it away from them. Snatch whatever you want to. But remember — the people of the country will give a befitting reply,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet attaching a news report.
His remarks came a day after the Indian Railways announced a major push for the private entities in the Indian Railways. The Railways have invited the request for qualifications for private participation for passenger train operations on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains.
The national transporter on Wednesday said that it plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains and the project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.
The objective of the initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers, the Railway Ministry said.
The 109 (origin-destination) pairs of trains have been formed into 12 clusters across the Indian Railway network. Each train shall have a minimum of 16 coaches.
According to the railway ministry, this is the first initiative of private investment for running passenger trains over the Indian Railways network. The move began last year with the introduction of Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).