The Indian Railways on Thursday accomplished 100 per cent punctuality rate for the first time. The railway minister was quoted saying that all the trains currently functioning were on time. He added, "The previous best was 99.54 per cent on June 23, with one train getting delayed." (ANI)
News agency PTI stated that Railway Board Chairman, V K Yadav, instructed all general and divisional railway managers to make sure that no delay in the 100 scheduled pairs of passenger trains and 15 scheduled pairs of Rajdhani express occurred whatsoever. PTI further reported that the Chairman asked for 100 per cent punctuality because the total number of trains running currently is low. Presently, 230 special trains are operating, which make less than two per cent of the total 13,000 trains that normally run through the network daily.
A day before this achievement, the Indian Railways had officially endorsed its plan to allow private bodies to run passenger trains on its network for the first time. It invited requests for qualifications (RFQ) on Wednesday, for engaging 151 modern trains on 109 pairs of routes. This project is backed by an investment of Rs 30,000 crore from the private sector.
This venture began in 2019 with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) starting the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express. The IRCTC presently runs the Kashi Mahakal Express on the Varanasi-Indore route and the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas, along with the Lucknow-New Delhi Tejas.
The statement released on Wednesday said, "A private entity shall pay to Indian Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in gross revenue determined through a transparent bidding process." The ministry further stated that this new operation will require sheer reliability, punctuality and maintenance of trains in order to achieve a positive outcome.