Rail News


September 06 , 2021

Plan to privatise Kalka-Shimla rail track for 30 years: Report

Tribune India 
August 26, 2021 (Chandigarh, India)

Niti Aayog, as part of its plan to monetise public sector assets, proposes to provide the Kalka-Shimla railway track to a private concessionaire for a period of 30-50 years, according to a report by the Centre’s public policy think tank.

The plan for the 118-year-old railway track — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — has been prepared in Niti Aayog’s report ‘Volume II: Asset Pipeline’. According to the report published this month, the concessionaire will be responsible for operation, maintenance and development of the railway track. The report has a similar plan for the remaining mountain rail tracks of India, which are World Heritage Sites — Darjeeling Himalayan Railway located in the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal and the Nilgiri Mountain Railways located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu. “These locations are domestic tourism hubs with a heritage-based appeal to these railways,” said the report.

The proposal, however, has a word of caution for interested parties and has said they will also be responsible for preserving the heritage status of the tracks. “Any development/upgrade will be subject to concessionaire provisions,” it added.

However, even as the plan has been prepared, officials in the Ambala division said they were unaware of any communication being sent in regard to the report in the recent past. “In August 2020, the Ministry of Railways had included Chandigarh among 12 clusters for passenger trains to be operated as private entities through the public-private partnership,” said GM Singh, railway manager, Ambala division, under which the Kalka-Shimla section falls.


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