British firms oppose public-private tieups in Indian Railways

April 25th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) The dramatic turn-around of the Indian Railways may have earned laurels for Rail Minister Lalu Prasad but his hankering for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the department has few takers. The latest not to find in favour of PPP is a British rail team currently here to attend an India-UK Seminar on Railways.

The 12-member team, led by British railway minister Tom Harris and comprising representatives of British rail companies, Friday said PPP in Indian Railways is not advisable. These senior members of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) of Britain said they would like to work with the Indian Railways “but definitely not based on PPP”.

“PPP is based on a set of performance contracts that include measures of the time and cost of work done, but more importantly of the results or outcomes of that work,” Jonathan Beckitt of the CMS Camerson McKenna, a leading British Railway infrastructure provider told delegates at the seminar Friday.

The British rail companies have shown interest in providing solutions in areas like passenger information and passenger interface besides sharing advanced methods of measuring track and train performance.

The British delegation is here ahead of the Indian Railways inviting bids for joint ventures with private companies for locomotives, signalling systems and coaches for the dedicated freight corridor project soon. British Companies are keen to partner Indian companies for possible joint ventures.

According to Beckitt, British companies are keen to partner Indian Railways in areas like passenger information, passenger interface, track and train performance and signalling and track equipment. They are also looking at forging tie-ups with Indian companies to participate in the dedicated freight corridor project.

“But not in the form of PPP,” said Beckitt.

PPP found focus in the Railways Minister’s budget speech with him declaring that neither favours blind privatisation of the Railways nor is PPP a compulsion.

The minister suggested that the Indian Railways are seeking partnership with the private sector on terms that are in the interest of the Railways and their customers.

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