ECR change terms for construction of proposed Executive Lounge at Patna Junction to attract Private Investors

Railways extends let out period to 12 years to woo investors for state-of-the-art facility

Patna (PNBE): The railways have changed the terms for the construction of a proposed executive lounge at Patna Junction to attract private investors.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) and Indian Railways are executing the project in public-private partnership mode, which entails the development of a 100-seat lounge at the station, offering an array of state-of-the-art facilities.

Earlier, the railways had offered to lease out the facility to private investors for five years. Having failed to attract any investor, the bidding terms were changed and the time period was extended to 12 years.

Patna was among the 50 stations across the country where lounges, on the lines of those at airports, were to be built. The project would cost Rs 1.5 crore in Patna.

Confirming the development, East Central Railway chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak said: “Things are finally on the track and a fresh tender process would get under way within a week. Earlier, several meetings were convened and a tender was floated but the investors did not take any interest because of their apprehension of not obtaining investment returns in five years. Now, the contract has been extended up to 12 years.”?

A senior official of the IRCTC, on the condition of anonymity, told: “Previously, the construction spot was outside platform No. 1 but now it has been changed to platform No. 1 itself, near the parcel counter. A space has been allotted. We will complete the paper work within a month and it should not take more than six months to inaugurate the lounge.” ?

Talks on setting up of the executive lounge have been on from 2012. Within a year of the proposal’s announcement, an executive lounge was set up at the New Delhi railway station (in August 2013). But the Patna Junction project got delayed because of the lack of interest on the part of bidders.

The proposed executive lounge at the Patna Junction would be on the lines of the ones at airports. Passengers would be able to rest without any hassle.

It would have a television, music system, sofa-cum-bed, phone and a Wi-Fi-enabled computer or laptop. Passengers in transit can freshen up and even grab a quick bite at the lounge.

The project in Patna got delayed because of several reasons. First, the location was not good. Initially, the plan was to construct the lounge at the Karbigahiya end of Patna Junction. The investors were unwilling because the area was not as developed as the area around the entrance of platform No. 1. The Karbigahiya end saw local train passengers whereas the entrance of platform No.1 mostly gets passengers of express trains such as Rajdhani.

Keeping this in mind, the railways agreed to shift the location from the Karbigahiya-end to the front area of the station. But IRCTC placed another clause, allowing the investor to run the lounge for just five years. This spelt trouble for the project again.

Finding no takers, the lease period has been extended to 12 years.