All rail coaches to get bio-toilets in 10 yrs

Ten years down the line to provide better cleanliness and hygiene in and around railway stations, on board trains and track area, the entire fleet of the Indian Railway will be fitted with the bio-toilets. A senior railway official informed the Delhi High Court bench headed by the Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw during hearing of a PIL earlier this month.

Ajay Singh, Director of Mechanical (Development) told the Bench that by the 2021-22, all the coaches of Indian Railway will be fitted with bio-toilets. “Currently 500 bio-toilets have been fitted in the rail coaches and by the end of year 2,500 more of these toilets will be fitted in the coaches. By the year 2016-17, all the new rail coaches will be fitted with these green toilets,” said Singh. PIL was filed by Safai Karamchari Andolan. Singh informed the court that currently 50,000 coaches are in service and 4,000 coaches produced every year at Integrated Rail Coach factory.

The Bench asked the railways to speed up the process of installing the bio-toilets, on which Singh told the court that the existing rail coaches currently in use and which goes for periodic overhaul (maintenance) every one-and-half year. These toilets can be fitted once they go for periodic overhaul as it cannot be done at station and yards.

The bio-toilets will make stations and trains cleaner and would also solve the problem of manual scavenging which is also against the basic human rights. The new toilets will not only improve the environment on board for passengers but also help in preventing corrosion of rail track, which takes place due to the acidic nature of waste material. Railways have joined hands with the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior for the development of bio-toilets.

Discounted fares make Maharaja Express more affordable

In a bid to make the most luxurious train in the world, Maharaja Express, affordable to domestic tourists, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has trimmed its itinerary and offered a discount for twin travellers.

Announcing four festive season trips during the current financial year, the IRCTC has offered a 50 per cent discount in the fare for the accompanying companion besides shortening the duration of two trips.

Earlier all trips were of eight-day and seven-night duration but now two of these packages have been reduced to four days and three nights, resulting in a price cut and an additional discount to make it more attractive.

Two of the Dussehra and Diwali trips of eight days each, commencing on October 20 and 27, have been named ‘Indian Panorama’ (Delhi-Jaipur-Ranthamobore-Agra-Gwalior-Orchha-Khajuraho-Varanasi-Lucknow-Delhi) and ‘Indian Splendour’ (Delhi-Agra-Ranthambore-Jaipur-Bikaner-Jodhpur-Udaipur-Balasinor-Mumbai).

Both come with the same price tag.

The two packages start at $5,560 per person in the deluxe cabin and the offer for two persons travelling together is $8,340, allowing a 50 per cent discount on the regular price of $11,120.

The shortened packages called ‘Treasures of India’ and ‘Gems of India,’ commencing and terminating in Delhi, providing an experience of Agra, Ranthambore and Jaipur have been priced at $ 3,580 per person in a deluxe cabin and, with the permitted discount, at $7,160 for two persons travelling together.

The package not only covers the cost of all meals, 24-hour valet service, sight-seeing and entrance fees, and on board paramedics, but also provides complimentary house wines, liquor and beer.

IRCTC has announced four festive season trips during the current financial year

‘Treasures of India’ and ‘Gems of India’ are priced at $ 3,580 per person

Railways to organise study tours


Parents of students in Delhi’s state-run schools might breathe easy now with the government deciding to rely on an Indian Railways subsidiary – instead of private operators – for organising educational trips outside the city.

The Delhi government, which runs 900 schools in the city, will organise all outstation study tours for students through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

“The schools were facing many problems with private tour operators such as poor food, bad transportation facilities and substandard accommodation,” a Delhi government official said.

“To save them from all such things, we finally selected IRCTC as it is quite reliable and has a good experience in tourism business,” the official added.

“All outstation tours shall be undertaken at this stage through the IRCTC. They have undertaken to take care of all issues concerned, from picking the student up to dropping them at the end of the tours,” says a circular signed by Chandra Bhushan Kumar, director (education), Delhi government.

“This will include arrangement for stay, travel, food and the rates are within the norms prescribed by the government for these tours,” says the circular.

IRCTC has already taken more than 100 schools for trips to places like Mount Abu, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar, Nainital, Mussorie and Dehradun after the circular was brought out in August.

“We have recently tied up with the Delhi government. We have so far taken students from over 100 Delhi government schools on educational tours,” Shashank Shekhar, deputy general manager (tourism), IRCTC, said.

“We are also in touch with nearly 400 schools for organising trips. So far we have received a very encouraging response from both teachers and students. Through us they are also getting an insight into Indian Railways,” Shekhar added.