The Railways will open executive lounges on the lines of those seen at airports at three railway stations in the Capital -Old Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) opened one such lounge at the New Delhi railway station earlier this month.
Rakesh Tandon, IRCTC's managing director, said, "Many more lounges, including three in Delhi, have been committed in the rail budget speech. I'm hopeful of a permission from the higher authorities this month itself. Work is likely to start in the next financial year."
Anurag Sachan, divisional railway manager (Delhi) of Northern Railway, said, "Yes, that's the idea. After New Delhi station, we will set up the facility at other three important stations in the Capital. We will work out the modalities with IRCTC for an early start."
Tandon said footfall, demands from passengers and requisite space were the criteria of selection. "When passengers are ready to pay, we must provide such airport-like facilities," he said.
The New Delhi station lounge offers buffet meals, soft beverages, snacks, a business centre, TV sets, newspapers, magazines, separate dining areas for groups and families and recliners. The Railways is issuing a Rs 300 smart card to each passenger for three hours. If a passenger wants to stay there for more than three hours, he will have to spend an additional Rs 125 per hour. If somebody wants to wash and change, he will be given a kit at an additional charge of Rs 175.
"The lounge at New Delhi station costs us R5 crore. We're getting a good response - as many as 110 persons a day. These lounges can be used by anyone with a rail or even a passenger ticket. Those coming to the station to see off passengers can also avail the facilities," Tandon said.