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Police, tourism sector in Goa to go cashless soon

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Panaji, Dec 1: A few days after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar announced making Goa the first cashless state, Goa Tourism and Goa Police introduced several initiatives to make their functioning cashless.

The Goa Police said that systems were being put in place to pay traffic fines by debit or credit card.

Goa Tourism said payments for hotel reservation and other tourism-related services would soon be totally done via plastic money or e-wallets.

Both departments said that its officials were being trained to get accustomed to the transition.

“All Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) residencies are provided with point-of-sale (POS) machines to facilitate cashless payments and most tourists prefer to use this facility.

“It is encouraging to see tourists opting for cashless transactions,” GTDC’s General Manager (Hotels) Gavin Dias said.

He said that other services like packaged holiday tours and cruise rides would also be brought on the online platform.

Currently, apart from its own hotels and guest houses, GTDC has direct reservation tie-ups with 160 hotels across the state.

Last week, Parrikar chaired a meeting of bureaucrats and bankers in the state, to work out ways to maximise cashless transactions here by December 30.

Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector General of Police V.A. Gupta said that the first cashless initiative of the department would be to allow payment of traffic fines by debit and credit cards.

“The traffic department has a lot of cash transaction points. Soon people will be able to pay traffic fines by swiping debit and credit cards,” Gupta said.

The other police department fees would also be enabled on the online platform by January 2017. IANS

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Mail/Express trains to get saloons for exclusive journey

Railways has given written instruction to all zonal railways to allow saloons to be attached to all scheduled mail/express trains across the country. The Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi and Gatimaan expresses have been exempted from this.

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IRCTC Sloon Coach

New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) Aiming to increase earnings, Indian Railways will add a saloon to mail/express trains if booked by passengers for exclusive travel for reaching destination in comfort by paying a little more.

Known as an Inspection Car, a saloon is a specially designed rail coach with two bedrooms, a drawing/dining room, two bathrooms, an attendant’s room and a kitchen.

Facing stiff competition from low cost carriers the national transporter is in the process of coming out with many innovative approaches to perk up revenue.

Saloons are used by senior railway officials on their inspection duty. Ministers are also entitled to use the saloon during their rail journey.

Though the saloon can comfortably accommodate six passengers, one has to pay the equivalent of 18 first class fare for the same destination in the scheduled train.

Image result for saloons in train

IRCTC opens luxury railway saloons to public; coaches to offer valet service, air-conditioned rooms

“We have allowed saloon to be booked by any passenger. It would be added as an additional coach to the existing mail/express train on demand after paying the prescribed rate,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.

One can book the saloon through IRCTC, the railways’ tourism and catering wing.

Railways has given written instruction to all zonal railways to allow saloons to be attached to all scheduled mail/express trains across the country. The Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi and Gatimaan expresses have been exempted from this.

Currently, a Mail/Express train have between 18 to 24 coaches.

Since the saloon is equiped with cooking facility, customers will be free to make their own catering arrangements.

Railways expect the saloon will be in demand in tourist destinations and it would also be a much sought after service by newly married couples.

By : Arun Kumar Das

( is a senior Delhi-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at [email protected])

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Qatar Airways boss sorry for anti-women jibe

Qatar Airways says 44 per cent of its workforce are female. Al Baker said he supports efforts to bring a woman in to lead Air Italy, in which the Middle Eastern carrier owns a stake.

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Qatar Airways, anti-women jibe

Sydney, June 7 (IANS) Qatar Airways’s board Chairman has apologized for his remark that a woman could not run his airline, saying his comment was taken out of context, media reports said.

Akbar Al Baker made the initial remark at an annual meeting in Sydney of the International Air Transport Association, an industry group made up of major airlines including big US carriers, Efe reported.

“Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position,” Al Baker said, in an audio recording of the Tuesday press conference that was posted to Twitter.

He apologized but said the media took the comment out of context.

Al Baker is the group’s new board Chairman and the meeting in Sydney attracted some 1,000 attendees.

On Wednesday, at a separate conference in Sydney run by market-intelligence firm Centre for Aviation, Al Baker said he didn’t mean he “would discourage any woman to come and take my position.”

He said, “It was just a joke, everybody laughed and I thought that was the end of the story.”

Qatar Airways says 44 per cent of its workforce are female. Al Baker said he supports efforts to bring a woman in to lead Air Italy, in which the Middle Eastern carrier owns a stake.

But many parts of the aviation industry are still dominated by men. The International Society of Women Airline Pilots says not even 5 per cent of airline aviators are women.

A 2015 Centre for Aviation study found 94 per cent of airlines are led by men. The new 31-member governing board of IATA has just two female members.

Some airline executives at the Wednesday event agreed with Al Baker that his comments were blown out of proportion, but said they recognized the need for more women to get involved in the industry.

Martin Gauss, Chief Executive of Latvian airline airBaltic, said the industry must make it clear to young women that having a career as a pilot is a possibility.

Still, no women spoke on a half-day of panels at the Centre for Aviation event on Wednesday, a report in Dow Jones said.

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Now, Shimla is just 20 minutes away from Chandigarh

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The heli-taxi service that will cut down the travel time by four hours. (Photo- AIR)

Shimla, June 4: The travel distance between this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort and Chandigarh was reduced to just 20 minutes with the launch of a heli-taxi service on Monday.

The state government in association with helicopter service operator Pawan Hans Ltd launched a to and fro heli-taxi service on the Chandigarh-Shimla route, cutting down the earlier four hours travel time.

Each sortie, with 19 passengers on board, will offer a minimum fare of Rs 2,999 per person. It will initially ply twice a week, Monday and Friday.

The helicopter will take off from Shimla’s airport at Jubbarhatti at 8 a.m. and reach the Chandigarh International Airport at 8.20 a.m.

helitaxi-shimla-chandigarh

And from Chandigarh to Shimla, the flight will take off at 9 a.m. and reach Shimla at 9.20 a.m., an official with Pawan Hans told IANS.

He said the frequency of heli-taxi service would be increased depending on response of the passengers.

Otherwise, it takes minimum four hours to travel between Shimla and Chandigarh by road.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur flagged off the first service from Shimla. He said this would greatly help to boost the tourism industry in the state.

The government is also planning to start heli-taxi service between Chandigarh and Manali and sortie service from Manali to the majestic Rohtang Pass, an official said.

Members of the tourism industry are elated as they are hopeful that high-end tourists, especially foreigners and business travellers, will prefer to visit the state capital and its nearby destinations by flights.

“We are hopeful that the heli-taxi service will give boost to the tourism industry,” D.P. Bhatia, liaison officer with Shimla-based Oberoi Group of hotels, told IANS.

IANS

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