Indian Railways passengers, there is good news for you! Soon, you will be able to enjoy luxurious and comfortable stay at retiring rooms and dormitories at Indian Railways stations. Recently, the national transporter has instructed all the zonal railways to expedite the process of handing over all the station retiring rooms and dormitories to IRCTC. The process has been pending for over two years. The idea is to not only develop and upgrade these retiring rooms but also facilitate their online booking. According to a PTI report, on May 2, the Railway Board issued a letter to all the railway zones, instructing them to expedite the process of signing agreements with IRCTC to hand over such facilities.
According to a senior IRCTC official quoted in the report, the corporation intends to upgrade the station retiring rooms to international standards in hospitality offerings by providing facilities such as quality mattresses and linen, LED TV, almirah/locker for luggage, firefighting equipment, potable water, room heater, telephone and intercom. Moreover, the services will be linked with local sightseeing as well as tours and travel services that the IRCTC has been managing successfully.
Currently, the national transporter manages around 2,000 retiring rooms or dormitories at more than 600 railway stations across the country. The purpose of this facility is to provide reasonable safe transit accommodation to bona fide railway passengers, who can avail a retiring room for a maximum of 72 hours. IRCTC, which is the official e-ticketing and catering arm of Indian Railways will allow bookings in slots, ranging from 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours and 24 hours. However, the prices for the same will vary from station to station, an official said.
In 2016-17 Railway budget speech, former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced that the station retiring rooms will be handed over to IRCTC so that they can be managed in a professional manner. Following this, Indian Railways issued policy guidelines to all its zones for the implementation of the plan and for the takeover, IRCTC was asked to prepare a phase-wise road map. Since then, such facilities have been handed over by the IRCTC at 32 railway stations.
The letter issued by the Railway Board also stated that those railway stations which are being redeveloped by the India Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) will be excluded from the list of stations to be handed over to the IRCTC. These include retiring rooms at Habibganj station in Bhopal, Gandhinagar and Surat stations in Gujarat, Anand Vihar Terminal and Bijwasan station in Delhi.