Duty-free shops at railway stations

With the aim of mopping up additional income, railways is mulling to develop a revenue model to have duty-free shops and multiplex at stations.

“Our stations can be developed into a hub of commercial activities. There can be a mall, multiplex, library, food plaza and even duty-free shops at stations,” Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi told the Economic Editors’ conference here today.

There are more than 7000 stations across the country. “We have to develop a revenue model for commercial utilisation of our stations and for that we are planning to constitute Station Authority of India like the Airport Authority of India,” Trivedi said.

He said the vertical development of stations as commercial hubs would create at least 50,000 jobs. “Our core responsibility is to run trains and now the time has come to develeop a revenue model for stations. Staions are out huge assets and it will create job opportunities.”

Referring to the problematic land issue, he said “land is a big issue not only for railway but for the whole country. Most of our land is parallel to the track. But if we could commercially exploit the land, then our earnings would jump.”

Railways have identified more than 300 sites across the country for commercial utilisation of the land. “To begin with, we are creating a land bank by digitising the land record of railways as it will help us in planning in a better to utilise those land,” he said.

Faced with a large number of complaints, railways is planning to strengthen the e-ticketing system including booking ticket through mobile phones to deter tout operation at stations.

Railways is also planning to set up more kiosks at several places to decongest rush at ticket counters. “Technology is the solution,” Trivedi said when asked about the steps undertaken to deal with touts operating at railways stations. There are a large number of complaints against touts cornering bulk tickets, leading to harassment of passengers.

“We are also planning to set up more kiosks at several places for the publc to get train tickets. One should also get tickets through mobile”, he said. Admitting certain irregularities in Tatkal tickets sale, he said there is an improvement in the system but its still needs to be improved technically. Chairman of Railway Board Vinay Mittal said railways cancelled the licences of many travel agents for indulging in wrong practices.

Referring to high speed train, he said railways has selected six corridors for conducting pre-feasibility studies. “We are constituting a national High Speed Rail Authority for planning and monitoring the high speed train project. In order to have a better coordination with states, the Railway Minister is intercating with Chief Ministers of various states, Trivedi said.

“I have started the exercise of meeting chief ministers along with MPs to understand their requirements”, he added.


Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:03 am  Comments (1)