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Letter to BS: Introducing privately run trains is a brilliant idea

Time has come for such out-of-the-box thinking if we want to modernise rail travel in India

Business Standard 

Indian Railways
Indian Railways

Your editorial, "The private train mirage" (September 25), does well to point out the pitfalls in the proposal to introduce privately-run trains under the overall scheme of public private partnerships. But permit me to disagree with your thinking that the “idea is fundamentally flawed”. I think it is a brilliant idea that deserves serious consideration. Time has come for such out-of-the-box thinking if we want to modernise rail travel in India.

Of course, you have made a crucial point when you talk about the need to reform Indian Railways and the Railway Board. The two will definitely need to be separated, their umbilical cord has to be cut. The Railway Board must assume the role of a regulator and allow both the Indian Railways and the private companies to run trains on a level playing field. That done, there should be no problem allowing private sector entry in this important public mobility sector. Just because of the need for this major reform, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Public and private companies have coexisted in power, telecommunications, mining, aviation and other sectors. Why not in rail travel? Competition will do good to the sector.

Krishan Kalra, Gurugram

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First Published: Wed, September 25 2019. 20:38 IST