Karnataka on Friday urged Railways to take steps to enter into a revised MoU with the State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) to ensure continued operation of its Luxury train “Golden Chariot” to various tourist destinations across the country.
The issue of signing a revised MoU between KSTDC and Indian Railways has been pending in spite of correspondence and meetings between officials on both sides many times, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said in a letter to Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi.
“The departure schedule of the Golden Chariot luxury train is planned from September 2011 up to March 2012 and bookings from tourists across the world have already been made. Hence, cancellation of any departures will cause irrepairable damage to the reputation of the State and Indian Railways,which will in turn affect the credibility of the project,” he said.
Gowda wanted Trivedi to address the issue of cleara-nce of Rs 6.52 crore arrears pending from Railways to KSTDC and to consider the luxury train project as a tourism development project and not a revenue generating one, as it helps in creation of thousands of jobs and growth of tourism sector.
He said Railways should honour the original MoU between KSTDC and Indian Railway Board based on Revenue Sharing Model.
“If Revenue Sharing Model is not acceptable, then charging a reasonable haulage fee for the first 10 years and a cap on hike of haulage fee for every financial year thereafter may be considered for this project,” he said.