Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has instructed IRCTC to make commercial purposes of the two saloons that are earmarked for his transportation and make them available for public use.
The Indian Railways introduced India’s first saloon coaches with air-conditioned rooms, attached bathrooms and valet services to the public in March this year – reserved for use of railway officers and ministers. These saloons come with two bedrooms, a lounge, a pantry, a toilet and a kitchen, and can easily accommodate two families for at least five days continuously. A total of 336 saloon coaches were introduced and 62 were equipped with AC. Of these special saloon coaches, two were earmarked for use of the Union Railways Minister, currently – Piyush Goyal for his official trips across India.
Recently, Piyush Goyal had instructed the IRCTC (the catering arm responsible for conducting railway bookings all over India) to use both of the saloon coaches for commercial use and make them available to common people. Besides his own two saloons, Goyal wants the IRCTC to commercially use all the free saloons that are not being used for safety or operational needs and make them available for people on payment basis. Which means, the premium ministerial saloons that are a tradition since colonial era will be available for anyone, who can afford the cost.
The decision was taken as the Railway minister believes that limiting use of exclusive railway saloons to ministers “feels like trapping of a colonial mind-set with no place in modern India”. Details about from when will these saloons be available to all, cost, routes, etc have not been disclosed by the ministry of IRCTC, but it is likely to be very soon, considering the upcoming festive season.