Indian Railways has ‘virtually scrapped’ its plan to launch its own television channel citing ‘paucity of funds’.
Indian Railways Project Management Group has ruled out setting up rail television as there is no fund for the project.
The management group has recommended that the required sum of $500,000 (Rs 25 crores) should be generated through Public Private Partnership initiatives.
As per Indian Railways’ 2020 vision, it was considering launching ‘Rail TV’ to make extra income from advertisement revenue.
Instead, Indian Railways is now working on satellite-based train tracking system to provide real-time information on train location to passengers through a variety of devices including mobile phones and providing internet facility on trains using Wi-Fi on the Delhi-Mumbai-Howrah routes.
Indian Railways carry over 30 million passengers daily on its total track route of over 65,000 km and 7,500 stations.
In September 2010, the Sam Pitroda-headed Information and Communications Technology (ICT) experts committee recommended for the setting up of a rail television.
The Pitroda committee had put out a strong case for an 18 month timeframe for executing the project – saying that the channel would help in the dissemination of information relating to train running including diversions/cancellations, reservation availability and other information.
The TV proposal also got the clearance from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and considered that Railways will be able to meet the September 25 deadline for implementing the plan.