Published on : Monday, January 8, 2018
Complimentary passes, poor habitation along with loss in revenue are making India’s showpiece luxury trains like Palace on Wheels and Maharaja’s Express, languishing, as revealed in the report of parliamentary panel.
Also, it has directed the Railways to discontinue practicing of offering complimentary passes on these luxury trains with immediate effect and has enquired that why such a trend was initiated.
Between 2012 and 2017, in all these five years, the luxury tourist trains, Palace on Wheels, Maharaja’s Express, Golden Chariot, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and Deccan Odyssey — have virtually traveled with empty seats ranging between 45 and 63 percent of their capacity. The train tariff range from US $ 500 (Rs 31,600) to US $ 850 (Rs 53,000).
Describing the figures as “shocking findings”, the standing committee on Railways, headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, observed that the haulage charges imposed on these trains has been much higher than the revenue these trains have earned. The report was tabled in Lok Sabha on Thursday.
“These trains carry the image of Railways all over the world and are considered as iconic products /services in the luxury segment of tourism in India,” the report says. The committee focused on complimentary passes, saying it made little sense to the committee.
“The committee fails to understand the need to provide complimentary travel when these luxury trains have hardly been generating the revenue to meet their own working expenses,” the report says.
The policy of complimentary passes continued because of recommendations from the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, the Railway Board or the state tourism departments.
Tags: luxury trains