Here’s an opportunity for people to relish mouth-watering wazwan or buy authentic Kashmiri shawls and world famous carpets without travelling all the way to Kashmir. All these will now be available at the click of the mouse.
The Indian Railway is planning to facilitate sale of Kashmiri cuisine, dry fruits, artifacts and other local products through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) portal. The idea is to promote Jammu and Kashmir on the rail tourism map though e-commerce.
“We will create an e-market through IRCTC where all popular things of Kashmir including its cuisine and handicrafts will be sold. The idea is to popularise J&K on the rail tourism map,” Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said while inaugurating four new passenger trains in the Kashmir valley. He said with expansion of rail network in the region, there will be an influx of tourists and accordingly more trains will be rolled out.
A senior railway official said they are working out the modalities to create market for Kashmiri products. Sources said the railways have tied up with some big e-commerce firm that will sell a variety of products as per customers’ requirements. This will be on the pattern of IRCTC’s partnership with Amazon.in which sells all its products to railway customers. “The IRCTC website will provide a link to the company’s website where customers can order desired products. However, products will not be sold directly by the IRCTC,” an official said.
He said the partner will manage the entire e-commerce solution, from bringing in the selection of items, payments, orders, complaint management, returns and handling. According to officials, IRCTC has emerged as India’s largest e-commerce player. According to IRCTC, its website www.irctc.co.in gets an average 330 million hits a day, and clocks 50-million individual visits. The portal has 390-million registered users and 250-million active users. As compared, the largest private Indian ecommerce player, Flipkart, gets around 10-million visits a day.
They said a number of products like Kashmiri shawls, copper ware, carpets, mulberry silk clothes and embroidery suits, saffron, almond, walnuts, variety of breads, Kahwa and noon chai are popular among tourists. Recently, IRCTC also tied up with Jubilant Foodworks to deliver Dominos’ pizza to passengers’ seats onboard the trains across selected stations in India. The service is available in trains that currently do not have pantry cars; however it would be extended to trains with pantry cars in the future.
In another development, the IRCTC has joined hands with Atom, an online payment gateway, to facilitate foreign travellers to use international credit and debit cards for purchasing train tickets. “The arrangement has enabled the international passengers to use their cards for payment transaction for booking e-tickets on IRCTC ticketing portal. The response is very encouraging since launch of the facility last week,” said IRCTC chairman and managing director A.K.Manocha. Transactions worth `15 lakh has been made so far on international cards.