Bhubaneswar, Jul 30: Following the steps of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka, Odisha will now have its own Super Luxurious Tourist trains styled in old Maharaja legacy. The development came after the Indian Railways in an effort to boost tourism, proposed to states to have Tourist luxury trains like Maharaja Express, Palace On Wheels, Deccan Oddysey.
In February this year Indian Railways wrote a letter to 15 major states of India with a proposal and invitation to have Maharaja Styled Train for their own states. The major 15 states includes Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha. Out of the 15 states, only Odisha responded actively by keenly showing interest to have such a train in their state.
Odisha Chief secretary met Indian Railways Tourism Officials in Odisha earlier in the month (July) in order to execute the plan. A team of Odisha Goverment officials is also planning to meet Railway Ministry to chalk out ways to execute the plans. As per the plan, Railway Ministry is ready to provide coaches to the state at reasonable rates.
The Odisha Government will take care of every possible train services right from marketing to providing hospitality, arranging tourist routes, stopping at the right destinations and planning the interior design of the train coaches. Indian Railways will only charge for the Loco or the operations of the train, termed as Haulage Charge.
To popularise such Super Luxury Tourist Trains in India, Indian Railways has reduced the haulage charges by almost by 50 per cent. Earlier the haulage charges or the operating cost of such train would be somewhere around Rs 80 lakhs for a one week trip. Now the haulage charges would cost somewhere around Rs 40 lakhs per trip (7 days).
Odisha Government is looking forward to popularize its tourist destinations like Puri, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Konark, Sambalpur, Talasari Beach etc. Maharashtra has Deccan Oddysey, Rajasthan has Palace on Wheels and Heritage Palace on Wheels, Karnataka has Golden Charriot and IRCTC run Maharaja Express. Therefore, Odisha Government is planning to have such a train on routes in next 2 years. If the plan comes into execution, India will have it’s sixth such Super Luxury trains.
About 95 per cent of the super luxury tourist trains in India is occupied by foreigners because the basic fare hovers around Rs 3 to 4 lakh per person.