18:57 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Indian Sikh pilgrims pose for a photograph as they wave from a train bound for Pakistan at a railway station in Amritsar on November 15, 2013

    India's Railway Stations to Showcase Culture, Improve Services to Lure Tourists

    © AFP 2019 / NARINDER NANU
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    The Indian railways’ modernization plan attempts to blend culture and improve facilities to lure tourists.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian Railways will embellish some of its major railway junctions with scenes from the Hindu treatise ‘Ramayana’ or art from medieval period Mughal dynasty. The aim is to showcase India's rich and diverse cultural heritage of India to foreign travelers visiting heritage sites.

    “Stations will have to be developed along the lines of local architecture and history. To ensure this, we will set up a committee comprising locals who will examine various proposals based on history and culture of that place,” PTI quoted an unnamed railways ministry official.

    The railways will focus on 28 stations to begin with. These will be spread across different railway zones in the country. More stations will be included in the next phase although there is no clarity when that may happen. Some of the stations have been identified in cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kanpur, and Allahabad.

    On the expenditure side, the railways will invite bids from private developers to remodel these stations and maintain them for 15 years. In return, the developer would be granted 45-year leasing rights for the commercial properties developed at these stations.

    Indian railways has pushed package deals tours to foreign travellers but world's most —widely used mode of public transport is still not preferred by overseas tourists. The railway network is considered both unsafe and unreliable as compared to air travel.

    “We normally don’t recommend international business travellers or tourists to use the railways due to safety and service concerns,” said R. Siddharth, a consultant working in the private security sector. “The impact of some of these measures will be visible in the medium term,” he added.


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