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Railways expedites monetisation process of heritage railway lines

Thursday, 03 Sep 2020
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The Ministry of Railways has expedited the process for monetisation of its heritage railway lines in Darjeeling, Shimla, Matheran and the Nilgiris hills.

A consultant has been engaged for a feasibility study and business models suitable for asset monetisation along with heritage preservation for these projects

The railways in Darjeeling, Shimla, Matheran and the Nilgiris hills are recognised by UNESCO as world heritage sites and add to the tourism potential of the regions.

The assets owned by these railways, such as heritage buildings, have been proposed for monetisation by the government think-tank Niti Aayog as a means to enhance revenue for the railways and promote the destinations.

The idea of monetising the four rail lines is that they can be handed over for a certain period of time to private investors who can improve them.

It is proposed that the investors will be allowed to run these trains and share revenue with the railways.

The Indian Railways spends an estimated Rs 250 crore each year for maintenance of these lines.

The government is working aggressively to increase its revenue sources, which have been burdened because of heavily subsidised passenger fares and other social obligation costs.

While the Ministry has already floated the proposal for inviting private companies to operate passenger trains in the segment -- a first for the national transporter -- it is also roping in private investors to develop and redevelop its railway stations.

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