Panaji: The Maharaja Express – a luxury train operated by IRCTC – may operate on a new route from Delhi to Kerala next year to facilitate tourists to enjoy the beauty of the monsoon in southwest India, a minister said on Saturday.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who was in Goa to launch a series of projects undertaken by his ministry, said that a special holiday train would also be introduced in December, considered the peak tourist month in Goa.
“We will start this train (Maharaja Express) also from Delhi, Mumbai, Konkan, Goa, maybe up to Kerala. The idea will be that a lot of people will be able to enjoy the Goa monsoons. It is not the peak season, but we can get more tourists here so that they can get better hotel prices here,” Prabhu said.
Prabhu said that currently the Maharaja Express, which travels on five routes as of now, is non-operational during summer due to the scorching heat and that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) would operationalise the new route along the Konkan region.
The Maharaja Express is one of the most luxurious trains and a single journey can cost up to Rs.2.5 lakh ($4,000).
Prabhu also added that in order to cater to the rush of tourists during December — a peak tourist season — the Indian Railways was contemplating a special holiday train which will operate on the Delhi-Mumbai-Goa route.
Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting, suggests Rajiv Somani, chairman and managing director of Drishti Marine, promoter of the state’s first private ferry service.
Somani, whose agency also operates a private lifeguard service along Goa’s coastline, said that the ferry service also adds to the range of offerings, in terms of “things to do” in Goa.
“The only model really close to this is the one in Venice where one can travel through waterways all the time,” Somani told IANS in an interview.
“The ferry service is more of a leisure experience. The picturesque ferry service adds to the range of offerings in terms of things to do in Goa for the hundreds and thousands of tourists who visit the state. Additionally, it also acts as a premium transit service for tourists and local residents.
“We are only targeting less than five percent of the population arriving at the airport. We understand that there are people willing to pay the fee for the trip,” he said, adding that the service would begin later this month when the tourism season begins to peak in the coastal state.
The daily ferry service will function with the help of two 40-seater, high-speed catamarans, which will ferry commuters between designated pick-up points like the state capital Panaji, heritage centres like Old Goa, beaches like Baga, Aguada and Sinquerim and the Dabolim airport.
The Airport Ferry Terminal is located at Baina beach, Vasco da Gama, and is approximately five kilometres from the Goa airport in Dabolim. A free shuttle service will be available between the ferry terminal and the airport for the convenience of passengers arriving at the airport.
Fares for the ferry service range from Rs 100 for a ride between Old Goa and Panaji to Rs 800 for a trip between the Airport Ferry Terminal (AFT) at Baina and Panaji.
The ferry will operate from 22 temporary jetties spread across the state, including tourism vantage points.”
In Phase 1 and 2 we are looking at a mix of about 22 jetties. Of these, 11 are existing jetties and 11 will be floating jetties which will be constructed by us. The present government jetties exist at Panaji, Old Goa, Chapora and Sinquerim, among other places,” he said.
Asked if the service would be competing with the state’s aggressive taxi lobby, which has been combative vis-a-vis introduction of alternative modes of mass transport, Somani said: “We are not competing with the taxi operators. One thing we were always clear about: We will not do anything which is competition to the local community”.
Somani also said that ferry services had immense potential in Goa, which is crisscrossed with waterways.
“Goa has an excellent network of waterways; what’s needed is the right kind of infrastructure. One doesn’t need to erect concrete jetties everywhere; a floating jetty like the one we are currently building in Baina works just as effectively,” he said, adding that the ferry would help better water-related experiences for visitors. (IANS)
New Delhi, Oct 5: RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday appeared before the CBI here in response to join the investigation into alleged irregularities in the IRCTC Hotels Corruption case.
Lalu Prasad appeared at the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters on Lodhi Road at around 11.30 a.m. “His questioning has started,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal told IANS.
The CBI on September 26 issued fresh summons — the third in a month — to the RJD chief and his son Tejashwi Yadav in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp contract case.
The CBI move comes after Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav skipped two earlier summons.
The CBI on July 5 filed a case for alleged IRCTC Hotels Corruption against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav. The allotment of contracts for IRCTC hotels in Ranchi and Puri in 2006 to a private firm when the RJD chief was the Railway Minister.
The contracts were given to Sujata Hotels, a company owned by Vijay and Vinay Kochhar in lieu of bribe in the form of a plot of prime land in Bihar, the CBI said.
A preliminary CBI inquiry found that the said land was sold by the Kochhars to Delight Marketing and payment was arranged through Ahluwalia Contractors and its promoter Bikramjeet Singh Ahluwalia.
The Enforcement Directorate has questioned Ahluwalia.
The ED had on July 27 registered a separate case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act following the CBI FIR and was probing Lalu Prasad and others for alleged transfer of money through shell companies.(IANS)
New Delhi, September 25, 2017: The youth wing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came out to protest against the University and former vice president Hamid Ansari who lately attended an event in Kozhikode held by Delhi Institute of objective studies.
The event was co-organised by National Women’s Front (NWF), the women’s wing of the radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India to mark the international conference on “the role of women to make a humane society”. It has also been alleged that an Islamic fundamentalist organization, Popular Front of India (PFI) was also part of the organizing committee.
According to the reports, the criminal of radical outfit PFI was accused of cutting the hands of Professor Joseph for being offensive to the Islamic Prophet Mohammad. It has also been accused of accusing National Investigative Agency over controversial ‘Love Jihad’ cases.
The university however claim that they have received letters from certain organizations, though not being part of the event but were collaborating in it.