New Delhi: The railway ministry has set up an “Empowered Group of Secretaries” (EGoS) to monitor the development of about 50 railway stations to “world class” standards in a time-bound manner. This group will also oversee the plan to run 150 passenger trains through private operators using the Indian Railways’ network.
The move comes after Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant wrote to Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav seeking speeding up of the station redevelopment project that was going on for years. He also sought the formation of the EGoS to ensure the project was completed swiftly. The EGoS will have the Niti Aayog CEO as its chairman, and the Railway Board chairman, the secretary, department of economic affairs, the secretary, housing and urban affairs ministry, and the financial commissioner (railways) as its members.
The Railways have to take up 400 station projects to develop them for world-class facilities.
“Despite the fact that a commitment was given for the last several years, the actual implementation has not happened except for a few isolated cases in which a few stations have been taken up through the EPC mode,” the Niti Aayog CEO’s letter stated.
Mr Kant said during a meeting with railway minister Piyush Goyal, it was felt there was a need to take up the matter on priority for at least 50 stations. “Considering the recent experience in privatisation of six airports, a similar process for setting up an Empowered Group of Secretaries to drive the process in a time-bound manner is required,” Mr Kant said.
Among the terms of reference of the EGoS will be approval of the bidding process and taking decisions to ensure award of the projects in a time-bound manner. The tenure of the EGoS will be one year.