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Rediff.com  » Business » There's something common between Akshay Kumar and the Indian Railways

There's something common between Akshay Kumar and the Indian Railways

July 28, 2017 17:02 IST

The upcoming Akshay Kumar starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is set to use toilets of the Indian Railways

From maestro Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali to evergreen blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the Indian cinema has used trains to tell a story.

In a rare reel-to-rail echo, the upcoming Akshay Kumar starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is set to use toilets of the Indian railways to catch eyeballs and to spread awareness about sanitisation.

According to persons close to the move, making use of its unsolicited revenue proposal, the Indian Railways may allow the Toilet: Ek Prem Katha team to brand the toilet doors of select trains and railway station platforms with its posters.

In addition to this, the posters will mention that the toilet waste is bio-degradable.

The movie is set to hit theatres on August 11. The movie is based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign.

Akshay Kumar and his co-star Bhumi Pednekar had met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently and the making team too had several rounds of talks with railway officials.

The movie, directed by Shree Narayan Singh, is co-produced by Akshay Kumar and Neeraj Pandey.

“The Railways is planning to accept the proposal under its new policy to take up unsolicited ideas for non-fare revenue collection. Under the policy, anyone can float an idea that can garner revenue for the railways,” confirmed a senior railway official.

The Railways is looking to boost the Swachh Rail campaign through the movie.

“The initiative that the team has mooted is to put up thematic posters with witty but thought-provoking communication in a campaign mode, close to the release of the film,” the official added.

The campaign will be branded “Swachh soch, swachh rail powered by Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”.

The government is targeting an open defecation-free India by October 2, 2019, by constructing 12 million toilets in rural India at a projected cost of Rs 1.96 lakh crore.

As part of its non-fare revenue strategy, the railways is seeking innovative ideas for revenue generation individuals or organisation.

The national transporter’s sundry earnings or non-fare revenue saw a 72 per cent increase to Rs 10,181 crore in 2016-17, as against Rs 5,928 crore during 2015-16.

The Railways is expecting an incremental revenue of Rs 34,350 crore from non-fare revenue in the next 10 years.

During 2017-18, installing 40,000 bio-toilets in passenger-carrying coaches has been targeted and Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) has been allocated in the Railway Budget 2017-18 for environment-friendly coach toilet systems.

Photograph: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

Shine Jacob in New Delhi
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