|Patna Junction and (above) a lounge like this is awaiting to come up at the station
The plan for an executive lounge at Patna Junction is all set to be implemented, as the railway board has “given serious thought” to accept the suggestion of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
Earlier, no investor has refused to take up the project citing reason of not getting profit for a period of five years. Following this, the IRCTC had written to railway board to extend the period to nine years.
The project, which entails development of a 100-seat lounge offering an array of state-of-the-art facilities and was to be executed by IRCTC and Indian Railways on a public-private partnership mode, has faced the jolt when investors stepped back even as a tender was floated in March 2013.
Requesting anonymity, a senior official in the railway board’s corporate office said: “We are at the final stage to take a decision and the board members almost reached to conclusion on the suggesting given by the IRCTC on the executive lounge project. However, the final decision would be taken soon and a fresh tender would be floated in October.”
Patna is among 50 stations across the country where the lounges, on the lines of those at airports, were to be built.
The agencies refused to take up the project, claiming it was not financially viable, as the implementing agency had to collect the user charge for five years only. IRCTC-Patna has requested the railways to extend the time period of running the lounge to nine years.
The project was first floated by then railway minister Dinesh Trivedi in March 2012. The New Delhi railway station got its dream lounge opposite platform No. 16 on the Ajmeri Gate side in August 2013.
Patna Junction is already in makeover mode. Being an A1 category railway station, it is going to get Wi-Fi with the railways having started working towards this.
Sharing details of the suggestion given to the railway board, a senior official of IRCTC-Patna said: “Apart from extending the tenure from five years to nine, we have also suggested to reduce the land value from 6 per cent to 2 per cent. It means the agency, which would invest the money, had to give 6 per cent share to the railways on the total land value where the lounge comes up. Not only this, the railways take 40 per cent share per annum of the total profit. We suggested them to take 12 per cent so encourage the investors.”