The railways has earned Rs 844 crore in the last three months, since it brought its commercial earning and non-fare revenue contracts online, with contracts for advertisement on its premises, for parking lots, leasing parcel space and pay-and-use toilets emerging as the top revenue-generating assets.
In a boost for small entrepreneurs and start-ups, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had launched e-auction for commercial earnings in June, a project enabling a quick finalisation of contracts and a quick re-award in case of failure of any contract.
With the bidding process being online, there is no geographical restriction on the bidders and applicants for registration and participation in any e-auction throughout the Indian Railways. Also, the Railway Ministry has relaxed the eligibility criteria.
“This e-auction portal has increased the railways’ earnings and helped in realisation of the true value of the assets. Since the launch of the e-auction portal for commercial assets, auctions have been conducted and 1,200 contracts awarded, covering 8,500 assets. The total value of the contracts awarded is Rs 844 crore. Sixty-eight divisions have conducted e-auctions,” the national transporter said.
The top performing assets have been for advertisement rights on the station-circulating areas and coaches, which finalised 375 contracts for Rs 155 crore, 374 contracts for parking lots for Rs 226 crore, 235 contracts for leasing parcel space for 385 crore and 215 contracts for pay-and-use toilets worth Rs 78 crore.
The single-highest grosser on the e-auction platform so far has been the Bengaluru division, which has earned Rs 34.52 crore for the auction of a contract for leasing parcel vans.
The Mumbai division of the Western Railways has so far awarded contracts on 53 assets through e-auction with a revenue potential of Rs 73.3 crore.
Other success stories include the e-auctioning for parking lots at Gandidham Junction and Himmatnagar in the Ahmedabad division. While 24 bids were received for Gandhidham Junction (GIMB), with the highest one being Rs 12.6 lakh per annum — 38 per cent above the conventional bidding price — for the other station, 26 bids were received, with the highest one being Rs 62,500 per annum — 72 per cent above the conventional bidding price.
The Delhi division has completely migrated to e-auctioning of leasing assets. Accordingly, of the 274 assets of SLR compartments available for leasing, contracts for 12 have been successfully awarded through e-auction.
The online mode of awarding contracts is also a way to break the back of the cartels working in the sector as the bidders’ identity will be masked from each other as well as from the Indian Railways.