two players -Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (ITCTC) and Megha Engineering - had submitted bids.
Earlier in August, the railways had reevaluated the bidding process for the Rs 30,000 crore private passenger trains after it failed to receive any interest from private sector players for its tender floated last year for the operation of such trains in 12 clusters.
The senior officials had told PTI that of the 12 clusters put up for bidding, only three saw any bid at all.
"The entire process of inviting tenders for the private passenger train operations is being re-evaluated. The present process bids may or may not be scrapped after the review is complete," an official had said.
It was in July last year that the Ministry of Railways rolled out bids for private participation in passenger train operations in twelve clusters across the country.
The plan included 109 origin-destination pairs. Winning bidders were to be provided a concession period of 35 years on a revenue basis model.
During the Request for Qualification (RFQ) last year, 16 private sector firms showed interest in the project. GMR Highways Ltd, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd, Cube Highways and Infrastructure III Pte. Ltd, and CAF India Private Ltd were some of the major firms that evinced interest in the project.
Also Read: Railways gets Rs 7,200 cr PPP bids for private passenger trains
This number significantly reduced in the RFP stage (financial bidding) with only two bidders coming forward. The bids were submitted by IRCTC and Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd for three clusters, while all other bidders backed out, citing concession rules favouring the Indian Railways.
The officials indicated that the absence of a regulator, payment of haulage charges in addition to sharing revenue, and curbs on route flexibility were among the likely reasons that kept bidders away from the railways' ambitious plans.
The Indian Railways in July last year planned to introduce private trains on its network in phases, with the first dozen due to start running in the 2023-24 financial year and all 151 by 2027.
According to the Railway Ministry's projections, the transporter was supposed to select the companies that will run the private trains by April 2021; the first 12 were expected to start plying by 2023-24, followed by 45 more in FY 2024-25, the next 50 in FY 2025-26 and the last 44 by 2026-27.
BENGALURU: Railway stations across Bengaluru Railway Division are noticing a marked increase in footfall this week. The average flow of crowd in the Division has shot up from an average of 2 to 2.5 lakh passengers per day to over 3 lakh passengers. The new COVID-19 variant and the new restrictions being announced for travel across the country by different States could also be one of the triggers. Every train is departing full and the wait-listed sheet of regular trains is long, said, top officials. “The Commercial department has its hands full with the EQ (Emergency Quota) requests from public surging. This is happening only since Monday,” said a senior official. Another... more...
official billed it “as a phenomenal increase in passengers. It is inexplicable and we are clueless about the reason. This is an important period for auspicious occasions. The Diwali and Navratri festivals are just over and we did not expect such a rush. It feels as if those who did not travel all these days have suddenly decided to pack off and leave.” Another railway official said, “It could be the fear of talk of a new variant of COVID and subsequent lockdown worries. But no one is really sure.” However, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division, Shyam Singh stated that he did not get any such reports of an increase in crowds at stations from his staff. Trains to Guwahati from Yesvantpur as well as Cantonment and those to Howrah from Yesvantpur are the ones overbooked with stations milling with those seeking a reserved ticket, said another official. When Express visited the Cantonment railway station, a few were found lying inside the stations in their wait for trains. Passengers gave different reasons for leaving. “I have not gone home for many days. Just going to bring my family back here,” said Vir Das, waiting to depart by the Guwahati Express. Buddhadeb Das, also waiting for the same train, added, “My uncle had passed away and so I am forced to leave suddenly.”
Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the National Board for Wildlife Wildlife (NBWL) to assess the impact on wildlife due to the proposed broad-gauge railway line project between Hubballi and Ankola, for which 594.64 hectares of forest land is set to be diverted. A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum, passed directions to the NBWL while hearing a batch of petitions challenging the wildlife clearance for the project. The bench heard the public interest litigations (PILs) that contested clearance for the 168-km new broad-gauge railway line in the 14th meeting of the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) in March 2020. The... more...
court directed the NBWL to go through the various reports submitted on the project and make an independent assessment of the impact of the project on the wildlife. The NBWL may involve experts in making the assessment, the bench said. The petitioners have also stated that an estimated 2.2 lakh trees would have to be cut for the project. “We understand that development work is to be carried out. However, we have to assess the impact on wildlife and the endeavour should be to protect it. To find out the impact of this development project on wildlife, we direct the National Board for Wildlife to carry out a survey over the area involved in the project and make an assessment of the effect of laying Hubballi-Ankola railway line in the forest area involved, over wildlife,” the bench said. The petitioners have argued that the project falls within the Jali Tiger Reserve, an eco-sensitive zone in the Western Ghats. According to official reports, more than 80 per cent of the Hubballi-Ankola railway project passes through dense forest. Out of the 995.64 hectares of land required for the project, 595.64 hectares will be forest land.
Habitat fragmentation is a reality across different landscapes and in the past three decades, the process of fragmentation has only intensified due to new linear infrastructure projects like railway lines, irrigation canals, power transmission lines, and fast moving national highways. Asian elephants require larger areas of natural range than most other mammals in tropical parts of Asia. The wild population is constantly on the decline across different habitats and there is a tendency towards skewed sex ratio due to elimination of males for tusk from the populations. During the last decade, there has... more...
been an increase in the intensity of human-elephant conflict in some parts of the country, like West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Karnataka. In Odisha alone, in the last nine years, around 694 elephant deaths have been reported, along with 664 human deaths caused by elephants. In 2018-19, 91 elephant deaths were reported, whereas 92 human casualties were reported across the state. The situation is serious in the northern and southern areas of West Bengal. Elephant deaths are reported at regular intervals due to accidents on railway lines and national highways in West Bengal and Jharkhand. In Nagarhole and Bandipur National Parks of Karnataka, conflict is reported on a regular basis in areas with increased urbanisation or where development projects have fragmented the habitat. The scenario in human enclaves situated in the heart of elephant landscapes is little different and there conflict is reported in the form of crop damage, damage to houses, plantation, etc. The National Wildlife Action Plan 2017-31 released by the Government of India has recognised that wildlife conservation has to go beyond just the protected areas. This would allow ecosystem level conservation actions at the existing internal smaller, nested spatial scales of management such as protected areas (PAs) and territorial forest divisions as well as larger units to achieve conservation goals. Landscape conservation Landscape conservation of species must be seen as maintaining or enhancing genetic exchanges between metapopulations and improving the prospects of their long-term survival. The following actions have been recommended to ensure long-term management of wildlife species in the country: Identify and set boundaries for key landscapes; identify corridors and describe land use, the ecological features and administrative units within the area. Assess and evaluate status of all wildlife species and their habitats outside the Protected Areas but within the landscape for objective management planning. Endemic and endangered species in need of conservation should be targeted for special recovery projects. Secure corridors for large mammals. Elephant and tiger corridors across the country have been identified in several reports of researchers and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. These corridors need to be demarcated on the ground and ecologically compatible land use needs to be ensured for these areas. Develop a strategy for managing stray feral animals such as dogs, cats, etc., in and around wildlife habitats which threaten wildlife by attacking nests for eggs; control small wildlife; control the spread of pathogens like canine distemper virus. Put in place institutional systems for objective assessment and consultation at project formulation stage to ensure that development projects as well as land-use practices in key wildlife habitats do not turn out to be drivers of conflict. Develop and implement the ‘National Policy on Invasive Alien Species’ for both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to protect native biodiversity from the adverse impact of these species. In most of the Protected Areas in the country, linear developments such as roads and highways, railway lines, power lines and canals are invariably in conflict with the objectives of wildlife management. The increasing number of such development projects across the country have accentuated the fragmentation of landscapes, thus bringing about conflict between development projects and the objectives of wildlife conservation. There is an urgent need to balance and harmonise development goals with objectives of long-term management of wildlife areas. A paradigm shift in management strategy is needed so as to ensure the long-term sustainable conservation of most wildlife species. A landscape conservation approach is key to the survival of mega species to maintain genetically viable populations. Tiger reserves in the country have already incorporated this in their management strategy by designating core and buffer zones and focusing on providing connectivity through viable corridors. Linear projects Wide ranging species like elephants require contiguous habitats across landscapes. Linear developments in their landscape inside and outside protected areas pose a major challenge for elephant conservation. There is a need for development and conservation to go hand-in-hand, keeping in view the need to meet the development and conservation goals of the nation. Protected areas in India often have development projects like roads, railway lines, irrigation canals and transmission lines that fragment the habitats, often causing mortality of animals and posing a serious challenge to their long-term conservation. Some prominent examples include the National Highway (NH) crossing Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand; NH67 and 212 passing through Bandipur National Park in Karnataka; the highway through Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh; NH209 that divides Sathyamangalam Wildlife Landscape in Tamil Nadu; State Highways passing through Gir National Park, Gujarat, and Sariska National Park in Rajasthan; NH37 through Kaziranga National Park and NH54 passing through Borail Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam; the Poily-Ranjitpura road passing through Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat. In view of this, there is a need to integrate conservation concerns in the development of infrastructure during the planning process itself. Infrastructural development is required to be animal friendly to ensure safe movement of animals. Such development would be required to be ‘green’ towards linear infrastructure so as to minimise their impact on habitats. This can be successfully accomplished with the involvement of the communities and building a consensus between conservation priorities and economic development. (Excerpted from Jumbos on the Edge: The Future of Elephant Conservation in India published by Nataraj Publishers)
The Railway Ministry informed RITES, Leading Transport Infrastructure Consultancy and Engineering company, that a new line between Belagavi and Dharwad via Kittur, a new Shimoga-Shikaripura-Ranebennur line, and Tumkur-Devangere via Chitradurga new line project will not be executed by the company. The Ministry of Railways vide letter no. 2021/PL/57/12 dated 30th November, 2021 has intimated that in continuation to the Railway Board’s Letter dtd. 26.10.21 regarding the execution of work by Railway CPSEs, the following works will not be executed by RITES:– New Line between Belagavi – Dharwad and via kittur– New Line between Shimoga-Shikaripura-Ranebennur– Tumkur-Devangere via Chitradurga New Line Project Earlier... more...
RITES had received this turnkey order including the three new line projects –Belagavi-Dharwad via Kittur, Shimoga-Shikaripura-Ranebennur and Tumkur-Devangree via Chitradurga, with a total cost of Rs. 4027 crore.
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