NEW DELHI: Soon, passengers who stow their luggage in railway cloakrooms and lockers would have to shell out more for availing the service.
The railway board has now empowered Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) to raise the usage fee for the service at stations.
It will soon launch a bidding system to modernise the service, including a computerised inventory, and allowing fee to be raised annually.
Currently, Railways charges Rs 20 for the use of a locker for 24 hours and Rs 30 for every additional 24 hours or part thereof. Earlier it was Rs 15.
The cloakroom rent is Rs 15 for 24 hours, in 2000 it was Rs 7 and Rs 20 and for every additional 24 hours which was earlier Rs 10.
The last revision of the rates was done in February 2013, the first since 2000 when the prices were Rs 10 and 15 for 24 hours for use of lockers and cloakrooms respectively.
Once the new policy is in place, the base price for a unit of luggage to be kept for specified hours in the cloakrooms and lockers will be decided through an open bidding system.
"It has, now been decided that DRMs shall have full powers for upward revision of the cloakroom and locker tariff at stations based on their local conditions...," the new policy decision said.
This service is widely used by backpackers and many domestic tourists who are on short visits to a tourist spot.
"Many do not want to lug their luggage around and want a safe place to keep their stuff. The railways has been providing this service for long.
"At some stations where there is high tourist footfall and thus high demand, we thought that the officer in the field should decide how much he wants to fix the fee at," a senior railway official said.
The service in fact is quiet helpful for tourists - all one has to do is deposit the luggage duly locked and then a receipt is given.
This receipt, duly signed as an acknowledgement of having received the luggage, should be surrendered along with the prescribed charges at the time of delivery. At most stations, one can keep their luggage for up to a month in these cloakrooms and lockers.
The policy decision also says that a trial run is being planned in identified A1 or class A stations where space will be provided by railways for a licensing fee to the successful bidder to run the service.
"The successful bidder may be allowed fixed escalation in charges on a yearly basis," said the document detailing the outsourcing plans of the railways' cloakrooms and lockers issued earlier this month.