An ambitious plan to put televisions in all Delhi-bound Shatabdis is stuck in limbo.
The plan, announced amid much fanfare last year, required the Delhi division of the northern railways to install 7-inch LCD screens at the back of seats in nine Shatabdis by the end of the last fiscal. The service would cost passengers nothing extra.
“The contractor failed to provide the service and thereafter the tender was cancelled,” said a senior railway official, requesting anonymity. “Besides, the revenue model was unviable.”
“The service provider was to share 20% of the profits earned by selling air space and other inventories. The service provider to failed to clinch a deal with DTH service providers. There was some problem with importing LCD sets from China as well,” the officer added.
The service operators were required to stream all general entertainment, news, sports, lifestyle, non-fiction and movies channels, besides providing value-added services such as hotel and cab bookings to travellers. The pilot run of the was successfully conducted on the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi.
“Around 10,000 7-inch LCD TV screens were to be installed in both executive and chair cars of these trains. Two agencies were shortlisted for implementing and managing the project on a five-year contract,” the officer said.
To get the plan back on track, the Delhi division of northern railways is planning to float a new tender.
“A new tender with stricter conditions would be floated. The free television service may take another year to become a reality. The project still stands viable as the advertisers will get captive eyeballs,” the officer added.