Railways Seek DIPAM's View On IRCTC-RailTel Merger

Indian Railways Seeks DIPAM's View On IRCTC-RailTel Merger

by Arun Kumar Das - Oct 20, 2022 12:47 PM +05:30 IST
Indian Railways Seeks DIPAM's View On IRCTC-RailTel MergerIndian Railways. (Representative Image) (Pic Via PTI)

Indian Railways is considering a proposal to merge RailTel Corporation of India (RailTel) with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

The move comes following a recommendation by former principal economic adviser in the Finance Ministry, Sanjeev Sanyal.

The issue of merger of RailTel with IRCTC is now being referred to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM).

After closing down Indian Railways Station Development Corporation (IRSDC), the railways has already decided to wind up the Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW).

A centralised agency of the railways, COFMOW was responsible for modernisation of railway workshop/production units and for carrying out procurement of specialised machinery and plant.

It was also involved in induction of modern workshop technologies, while IRSDC was meant to redevelop railway stations.

Besides COFMOW, Sanyal, who is currently a member of the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister, had also advised closure of the Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE).

Established in 1979, CORE is responsible for railway electrification of the Indian Railways network. The organisation is headquartered at Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh.

After the closure of IRSDC, all station redevelopment works are being assigned to Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA).

According to the railways, the proposal to merge the two entities — IRCTC and RailTel — relies on the suggestions of Sanyal. The DIPAM will now take a call on the merger of these two rail bodies.

While IRCTC deals with ticketing and catering for the national transporter, RailTel is the telecom arm of the railways.

Currently, RailTel is at the forefront of providing nationwide broadband telecom and multimedia network in all parts of the country in addition to modernisation of train operations.

With its pan-India high capacity network, RailTel is also working towards creating a knowledge society at various fronts. Merging both these units would be a challenging task, it seems.

DIPAM’s views were sought because both these PSUs are listed entities, the railways maintained. Despite the challenges, the railways will go ahead with downsizing.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.

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