'Golden Chariot' to open for private charter

 As the government has continued to incur losses with the ‘Golden Chariot’ train project, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), which operates the train, has decided to offer it for charter in the hopes of earning a profit.The Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that connects the important tourist locations in Karnataka and Goa.

Addressing reporters in Bangalore after releasing a coffee table book on Mysore, Tourism Minister Anand Singh said that as the months between April and October are traditionally lean months for service, the KSTDC plans to charter the ‘Golden Chariot’ to private companies which are willing pay a fixed rate and run the train themselves.

The Tourism Corporation has fixed a price of Rs 32 lakh for the ‘Pride of the South’ circuit and Rs 35 lakh for the ’Southern Splendour’ circuit. Between the months of October and March, however, the Tourism Corporation plans to operate the train itself.

Singh, who failed to take part in the Dasara inauguration, said that he could not attend the function as he had been forced to visit Hampi that same day. He added that the Rs 11-crore ‘Hampi by Night’ train concept was being inordinately delayed and that the department wanted to launch the ‘Sound and Night’ visual show at the Hampi Utsav in December.

Singh said that it was ironic that the high-level committee on Dasara headed by the chief minister had made it a point not to involve the tourism minister and the tourism principal secretary during the last few years. “I have, however, asked them to rectify this mistake,” he said.

Singh also revealed that police had arrested four individuals suspected of damaging the 15-foot-tall tower atop the Malyavanta Hill in Hampi in September. The arrests were made three days ago. Singh explained that the men hailed from Gangavati and Anegundi villages. “The department is contemplating fencing off the entire core area of Hampi to improve security,” he said.

Mysore coffee-table book

Singh released the book, ‘Marvels of Mysore and More’, written by the author and columnist Sandhya Mendonca and travel and food writer Anita Rao Kashi. With principal photography by Asha Thadani, ‘Marvels of Mysore and More’ is a factual photobook on contemporary Mysore.

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