SECUNDERABAD: The Railways has begun the tender process for 21 stations in Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Hyderabad divisions under the Station Redevelopment Programme (SRP).
The Ministry of Railways has extended by one month (up to June end) the last date for submitting the tenders online.
Once the process is completed, the bids will be kept open in the public domain and other parties can challenge the bids under the Swiss Challenge method.
However, the railway employees unions alleged that the Centre was privatising railways in a phased manner through such moves.
The union leaders said the Government of India was giving 45 years lease for private parties on the pretext of ‘Development Agreement’ and ‘Station Facility Management’ (SFM).
“Station Redevelopment Programme is aimed at privatising the organisation and very shortly, the Station Facility Managers will take over the control of the stations,” they alleged.
Recently, railways has allotted nodal officers for all the stations to be given under SRP, and an officer G.V. Ramana Reddy, would act as nodal officer for the zone, for implementation of the programme.
In Vijayawada division, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Kakinada Town, Ongole, Anakapalle, Bhimavaram Town, Eluru, Tuni, Gudur Junction, Nellore, Chirala, Tenali Junction, Tadepallugudem and Samalkot stations will be given for SRP. In Guntakal division, Kadapa, Tirupati, Renigunta, Guntakal Junction and Anantapur, Guntur Junction (in Guntur division) and Kurnool (in Hyderabad division) will be developed under the programme in Andhra Pradesh.
Rail Mazdoor Union (RMU), divisional secretary Y.S.R.K.V.D. Prasad said like ticket booking, the railways has planned to privatise the organisation in a phased manner and on the name of SRP the process had begun.
“In the last 150 years, Indian Railway made lot of developments and won the accolades of the public in extending facilities, but never gave a chance for private persons.
“But in the name of development, the government is giving away railway assets and stations to private parties,” Mr. Prasad alleged.
Central Railway (SCR) Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), U. Umashankar Kumar said the Railways has decided to improve stations on a par with international standards under Public Private Partnership (PPP) and extend more benefits to the passengers.
“SRP is not privatisation, and the person who took the railway assets on lease will share the revenue with the railways, but will not enter into operations and railway infrastructure as per the terms and conditions,” Mr. Umashankar said.