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Railway Minister Proposes Promotion of Tiger Tourism Circuit Packages
February 25, 2016
Railway Minister Proposes Promotion of Tiger Tourism Circuit Packages

To partner with states to operate tourist circuit trains

25 February 2016

New Delhi: The Railway Budget for 2016-17 presented by Union Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu today in the Parliament haven’t pronounced anything substantial for promoting Rail Tourism in the country. The only relief for Rail Tourism came towards the end of the Budget speech, when he proposed promotion of complete packages through rail connecting wildlife circuit Kanha, Pench and Bandhavgarh in order to generate awareness “about the national animal”, tiger. Another proposal that came from the Railway Minister was intention to commence tourist circuit trains in partnership with the states.

Reiterating the government’s agenda to push spiritual and pilgrim travel in the country, the Rail Budget proposed a dedicated train – Aastha – connecting important pilgrim centres. As part of improving the passenger amenities at major pilgrim destinations and railway stations associated with them, the Railway Minister proposed provisions for passenger amenities and beautification at Ajmer, Amritsar, Bihar Sharif, Chengannur, Dwarka, Gaya, Haridwar, Mathura, Nagapattinam, Nanded, Nasik, Pali, Parasnath, Puri, Tirupati, Vailankanni, Varanasi and Vasco.

As part of improving the customer interface and other facilitations, the Budget proposed more automatic ticket vending machines, as well as e-ticketing facility to foreign nationals having foreign debit/credit cards; bar coded tickets, scanners and access control on a pilot basis.

The Budget which didn’t propose many new trains, has proposed for Antyodaya Trains (for Unreserved Super Fast), Humsafar (fully air-conditioned 3-tier A/c trains); and Uday (double decker overnight trains). However, there is no clarity as to the routes in which these trains will be deployed.

The Budget also proposed strengthening and improving the catering services in trains. The e-catering services will be extended from the current 45 stations to more than 400 stations over the next two years. Passengers will be offered more options of local cuisines. The Budget proposes 10 more IRCTC base kitchens and the quality of the food and these kitchens will be audited by third party agencies.