There seems to be no end to bad days of the second luxury train of the state - Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RROW). The railways board has refused to buzz over doubling of haulage charges. Now the minister of tourism Bina Kak has decided to meet the Union minister of railways Mamta Banerjee and Union minister of tourism Kumari Selja to sort out the issue.
Kak had written to the railways board for revising the decision for doubling of haulage charges but there has been no positive response. With increase in haulage charges, cost of tickets will also increase and it will put extra burden on Rajasthan tourism development corporation (RTDC) to run the train. Since its launch in January 2009, the rain has been facing booking crunch and is running much short of its full capacity of 82 passengers.
"After the Assembly is over I will meet union ministers of railways and tourism and put up the issue before them. Some other luxury trains are also facing same problem and we may meet the ministers together" Kak told Hindustan Times.
The railway board has increased haulage charges from Rs 1000 per kilometre to Rs 2000 per km. Earlier; RTDC paid Rs 30 lakh per trip as haulage charges but now will have to pay nearly Rs 60 lakh. RTDC and railway board jointly runs the train.
"With increase in haulage charges the operational cost of the train will also double. Besides cost of tickets will also rise with which less number of tourists will be interested in train tours" said Kak. She said that Palace on Wheels (POW) is run on revenue sharing basis and same model should be applicable for RROW. The train is on its last run for the present tourism season that normally concludes at April end.
According to official sources, the train is not recovering its running cost and with doubling of haulage charges it has become tough for the corporation to meet its expenses. RROW is considered more luxurious than POW and it includes two super deluxe suites, 13 deluxe saloons, 2 restro bars, spa, boardroom, Internet facility, and dancing floor.