Indian Railways is on the fast track to becoming consumer friendly. More than 680 railway station across the country will have ATMs (automated teller machines) and several of them will have e-ticketing kiosks too.
The railways on Friday signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the State Bank of India to install ATMs in 681 railway stations across the country.
Of these, 383 major stations will also have the facility of ticketing counters through e-ticketing kiosks set up next to the ATM booths. This has been done in association with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
Addressing the press after the MoU signing at the Rail Bhavan in New Delhi, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said: "This is a historical day for us and this is a step towards social service."
"The State Bank of India (SBI) will pay an annual license fee of about Rs.105 million to the railways," he added.
ATMs at the selected stations will be installed within 15 months from now.
Syed Shahabuddin, chief general manager for IT, State Bank of India, said: "We have tied up with 13 banks, including private ones, for this."
"We are also holding talks to install ATMs on moving trains," he added, refusing to divulge further details.
"This is a major example of private-public partnership by the Indian Railways," said a railway ministry official.
On the issue of a dedicated freight corridor, the railway minister said: "A special purpose vehicle under the railways will be created for this. A decision on this will be taken next Wednesday."
Referring to the issue of security in the wake of the July 11 bombings on several Mumbai suburban trains, Yadav said: "We are soon going to install close circuit cameras and metal detectors in all the major stations."