Rajasthan News

RTDC left Rs 30 crore to luxury trains agents

by RajasthanDirect
Jan 05, 2014

Rajasthan luxury trains ticket bookings and cancellations may come under corruption charges as the Indian Audit and Accounts Department shows some hint of nearly Rs 30 crore in corruption the ticket bookings and cancellations of luxury trains, the Palace-on-Wheels (POW) and the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RROW), in the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Some select tour operators were not charged for canceling bookings, sometimes for the entire train, in violation of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation’s (RTDC) booking and reservation policy. The audit department sought RTDC’s reply in the matter a year ago, but the company officials are tight-lipped about it till date. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje could take up the matter at a review meeting of the tourism department on coming Monday.

The luxury trains POW and RROW are the two profit-making units of RTDC, which incurred a loss of around Rs 18 crore in 2012-13. Further, till a few months ago the RTDC had been citing financial crunches in paying Rs 30 crore it owed to the Indian Railways as haulage charges for POW.

Even as the RTDC has a system of online bookings to ensure transparency, almost 90% of the bookings for both the luxury trains are done without using the software, through three private tour operators-Royal Indian Train Journey (RITJ), Luxury Holidays and Holidays to Treasure. The RTDC calls them general sales agents (GSAs) and sales promotional partners (SPPs).

As per the audit findings for the tourist season 2010-11, as many as 10 trips of RROW were cancelled but no cancellation charges were deducted. The two GSAs, RITJ and Luxury Holidays, booked 278 cabins for the 10 trips. The RTDC booking policy required deduction of 50% of ticket values for 241 cabins that were reserved as “group bookings” and 10% of ticket values for the remaining 37 cabins.

Audit worked out that a cancellation amount of Rs 3.23 crore was to be charged by RTDC from the two GSAs. “The reasons for non-charging of cancellation may be intimated to the audit,” the union department’s communique to RTDC has said.

Similarly, the audit found that during 2010-11 and 2011-12, RTDC made ‘short recoveries’ to the tune of Rs 25.60 crore from the GSAs/SPPs for making changes in bookings for both the luxury trains. No cancellation charges were recovered for reducing the cabin bookings, while only 5% of ticket values (instead of 100%, as per the policy) were charged for lapses in communicating the cancellations, the audit noted.

In addition to this, an amount of over Rs 9.48 lakh was left outstanding against three other GSAs till the closure of financial year 2011-12. “This shows that the GSAs were given undue favour at the cost of the company (RTDC) and against the booking procedure/policy,” the audit query has remarked.

Favours to tour operators

Short recoveries for POW cancellations: Rs 7.92 crore

Short recoveries for RROW cancellations: Rs 17.68 crore

Full exemptions for RROW cancellations: Rs 3.23 crore

Outstanding left against 3 operators (Mar 31, 2012): Rs 9.48 lakh

src: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Loss-making-RTDC-excuses-Rs-30-crore-to-luxury-trains-agents/articleshow/28413188.cms

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