The firms are Cox and Kings, the Oberoi group, Le Passage (in consortium with the London-based GW Travels) and Maple Hotels. The Board had issued a global advertisement inviting expression of interests (EOI) for the selection of management partner for the project in January this year.
Talking to FE, DP Reddy, secretary-cum-director, Punjab tourism and cultural affairs, said the firms would submit the project report by August 28. The report will include their proposals for the interiors of the train, the marketing of the project along with other details. The proposals for the interiors of the train, including the designing, detailing and furnishing of interiors to five-star standards will be sent to the Railways. Since the Railways was going to manufacture the bare shell of the coaches, the feasibility of the designs would have to be approved by the deparment, Reddy said.
The route for the luxury train is yet to be finalised. Reddy said that the train must touch major tourist attractions of the state including Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib and Patiala. Besides these three cities, the management partner will have the authority to decide upon the route, take more cities of Punjab on the way, and take the train to Haryana or Rajasthan, as desired.
Punjab is contributing Rs 13 crore to the Rs 32-crore project. While Rs 7.5 crore is being provided by the Centre, the contribution of the Railways will be to construct the coaches for the train. The financial bid will also include proposal for sharing of revenue with Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board for the luxury train.