Railways has instructed its zones to expedite the process of handing over retiring rooms and dormitories at railway stations to IRCTC, which have been pending for over two years, so that they can not only be developed and upgraded but also facilitate online booking.
In a letter issued by the railway board on May 2, railways has instructed all zones to expedite the process of signing agreements with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to hand over such facilities.
"We intend to upgrade the retiring rooms to international standards in hospitality offerings with facilities like quality mattresses and linen, almirah/locker for luggage, LED TV, telephone and intercom, firefighting equipment, potable water and room heaters. The services will be linked with local sightseeing and tours and travel services that the IRCTC has been successfully managing," a senior IRCTC official said.
Railways currently manages around 2,000 retiring rooms or dormitories at more than 600 stations. The facility is meant to provide reasonable safe transit accommodation to bona fide passengers, who can book a retiring room for a maximum of 72 hours.
IRCTC will allow bookings in slots - - ranging from three hours, 6 hours, 12 hours and 24 hours - -, an official said while stating the prices for the same will vary from station to station.
The then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had in his 2016-17 budget speech announced that "retiring rooms will be handed over to IRCTC to ensure that these can be managed in a professional manner."
It was then that railways had issued policy guidelines to all its zonal divisions to put the process into action and the IRCTC was asked to prepare a phase-wise road map for the takeover.
Since then, IRCTC has been handed over such facilities at 32 stations.
The letter from the railway board in May this year has also stated that those stations which are part of the redevelopment project by India Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) will be excluded from the list of stations to be given to the IRCTC.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)