Mumbai Local: Private companies may run AC trains in future, says report
Private companies may get to run Mumbai locals in future. According to a report by DNA, the Indian Railways is studying the possibility of procuring 257 AC local trains that could be wet-leased for the Mumbai region.
Private companies may get to run Mumbai locals in future. According to a report by DNA, the Indian Railways is studying the possibility of procuring 257 AC local trains that could be wet-leased for the Mumbai region. The idea to explore the possibility of procuring AC locals from private parties came from the Government of India's policy think tank - Niti Aayog, the report quoted senior railway officials as saying. It added that this is the first time when Indian Railways is considering wet lease for the Mumbai local.
What is wet lease?
Wet lease is primarily an aviation concept, with its dictionary meaning being: "an arrangement covering the hire of an aircraft including the provision of a flight crew and sometimes fuel." Under a wet lease contract, an airline gets an aircraft, full crew maintenance and insurance from another carrier. The arrangement saves the former from huge financial burdens. If the Railways agrees to the Niti Aayog idea then a private company would get the opportunity to manufacture the trains and maintain them, while the responsibility of operating them will be with the Railways.
Mumbai's suburban network is the most extensive in the country with a daily footfall of 70 lakh commuters. Sources told DNA that the wet-lease model, if successful in Mumbai, may become a blueprint for other cities.
No privatisation plan?
Recently, reports had claimed that Railways was planning to engage private companies to run premium trains like Rajdhani. However, Union Minister Piyush Goyal had denied the reports on Friday last. He had said that the government had no plans to privatise the railways or its premium trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi express.
Goyal's response came amidst speculations that there was a proposal to rope in private operators. While responding to a question on privatisation of these trains and the entire network in Rajya Sabha, Goyal had said in a written reply, “No plan has been made for privatisation of Rajdhani/Shatabdi trains. There is no plan for privatisation of Railways.”
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