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Rail tickets to be made available in residential localities

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 19 (UNI) For buying railway tickets, people may not have to go to stations now, for these are going to be available right in their localities.

Even for platform tickets, there would not be any need to stand in long serpentine queues as these would be available through SMS.

All one has to do is to walk to the authorised Railway franchisees and get the ticket.

Giving details of the scheme, Railway Minister's OSD Sudhir Kumar today said travelling tickets will soon be available in designated banks and through travel agents of Railways' ATMs.

''The Railways has already held talks with several banks, including Canara Bank, SBI, ICICI and Bank of India, as also with mobile operators. Once operationalised, it will give a massive fillip to its passenger-friendly measures,'' Mr Kumar said.

The sale of tickets through ATMs has already started at Bangalore station, where it was launched on an experimental basis.

Under the initiative, a total of 5000 ATMs, along with Unreserved Ticket Counters (UTCs), will be opened at various stations across the country. ''Once this scheme is fully implemented, the long, stifling queue will become a matter of past,'' he said.

Mr Kumar said the process of setting up ATM kiosks at busy and important stations through both Indian and foreign banks was in full swing. ''As per the arrangement, banks will be responsible for installing ATM machines while the Railways will provide space.

RailTel, a public sector undertaking of the Railways Ministry, will provide necessary communication facilities.'' Besides Bangalore, he said all arrangements for setting up ATM kiosks at important railways stations such as Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, as also in most of the state capitals, had been completed.

In the next phase, this facility will be extended to less busy stations.

RailTel has already laid optical fibre cables at more than 2200 stations, which can also be used for STD, ISD and Internet facilities. ''From these kiosks, any passenger can buy tickets through his credit or debit card,'' he informed.

In the coming months, the SBI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, HDFC and ICICI are likely to install ATM kiosks. ''It depends on an individual bank how many kiosks it wants to set up,'' he added.

UNI/SKS AD RS1945

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