News: The Railways on Wednesday kick-started the process to allow private players to operate certain trains on its network by inviting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for operation of passenger train services on over 100 routes with 150 modern trains.
The Ministry of Railways said this is the first initiative for private investment in running passenger trains over the Railways network, and will attract investments of about ₹30,000 crore.
It added that the objective of the initiative was to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduce transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers, and also reduce demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector.
The Delhi-Lucknow Tejas is the first train that is not operated by the Indian Railways, as Railways geared up to allow private train operators.
The Railways said “majority” of trains will be manufactured in India and the private entity will be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains, which will be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
The “Concession Period” for the project will be 35 years, and the private entity will pay to Indian Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption, and a share in gross revenue determined through a transparent bidding process.
These trains will be operated by drivers and guards of the Railways.
2. TWO NEW SPECIES ADDED TO INDIA’S LIST OF BUTTERFLIES
News: Lepidopterists in Arunachal Pradesh have helped add two species to India’s expanding list of butterflies.
One of them, the Striped Hairstreak, was first recorded by Japanese entomologists in Hainan province of China.
The other, Elusive Prince, has a Vietnamese connection and was thought to be the more familiar Black Prince found in the Eastern Himalayas.
Namdapha National Park:
Namdapha National Park is a 1,985 km2 (766 sq mi) large protected area in Arunachal Pradesh of Northeast India.
With more than 1,000 floral and about 1,400 faunal species, it is a biodiversity hotspot in the Eastern Himalayas.
The national park harbours the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude.
It is the fourth largest national park in India.
The national park is located near the international border with Myanmar.
It is crossed from east to west by the Noa Dihing River that originates at the Chaukan Pass, located on the Indo-Myanmar border.
The land cover changes with increasing elevation from tropical evergreen forest to temperate broadleaf and mixed forest.
The area falls under both the Palearctic and Indo Malayan biogeographic areas resulting in a diverse species assemblage.