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Thursday 5 July 2007

SUCCESS OF RAILWAY MINISTER AT WHOSE COST?

This is the title of a blog post by vnraja on his blog - "Can we really build a disciplined Society?" on ibibo.blogs.com. Raja has logically analyzed the claim about so called success of the Railway Minister in transforming the Railways into a profitable organization and has concluded that it has happened at the cost of common men. Read the post:

"Much was talked about the so called success of the Railway Minister in transforming the Railways into a profitable organisation. He was also appreciated for doing this overnight. But none of the persons who appreciate the Minister seems to analyse how this can be done without affecting the common man.

As a common man and with the constraint of limited availability of information I wish to challenge everyone who advocates the theory that the present Railway Minister has made the Railways into a profitable organisation overnight without affecting the common man.

All those who talk about the Railways running in
profit all of a sudden should know that this is only at the cost of common man. The Railway Minister has burdened the common man on many accounts. Take for example the charging of Rs.10/- extra if you book a ticket for a travel not originating from the booking place.

This is in addition to the normal Reservation charges. This itself can generate so much of revenue as for long distance travel you ought to book a ticket for another train not crossing your ticket booking place. Don't think that the previous Railway Ministers were not capable of doing this. They wanted to extend the benefit of computerisation to the common man free of cost. During the time of introduction of Computerisation and subsequent linking of entire Indian Railways into a single system huge amount was spent by the railways. Even at these times the railways preferred to borne the entire cost itself. They avoided charging the common man which the Present Railway Minister is happily doing. While the entire infrastructure for this was established during previous regimes the present Railway Minister is harvesting the benefit!

Take another example to know how the present Railway Minister is not caring for the common man. This is my personal experience. I wanted to book two berths from Hosur to Mayiladuthurai in the Mysore - Mayiladuthurai Express. Hosur is an in between station in the Mysore -Mayiladuthurai route. Tickets were not available from Hosur to Mayiladuthurai and the waiting list was somewhere around 100 in the sleeper class general quota. But around 250 berths were freely available from Mysore to Mayiladuthurai in the same train for the same date in the same class in the general quota. So I asked for two tickets from Mysore to Mayiladuthurai with a request for boarding at Hosur as I was ready to pay the ticket fare from Mysore even though I am going to board the train at Hosur only. But the Reservation clerk said tickets like this can not be given. I was astonished by his reply. I wondered why such tickets can not be given. Boarding a train at an in between station is a facility enjoyed by us for many years - if the boarding point is mentioned at the time of booking the ticket.

By doing this what the railway minister says. You can not board the train at Hosur even though it stops at that station. You catch a bus, train or any mode, go all the way to Mysore, board the train there and travel to Mayiladuthurai crossing the HOSUR station. Otherwise book a TATKAL ticket with a boarding request at Hosur and board the train at Hosur.

Are you now able to realise why the Railways is earning huge profits? It is a cruel way of selling TATKAL tickets to generate revenue for the railways. Kindly study this case carefully. There are around 250 berths vacant in the train. These vacant berths were only in General Quota and not in TATKAL quota. You are given only a waitlisted ticket from the in between station. You are not given a ticket from the originating station with a request to board the train in an in between station. But you can buy a TATKAL ticket from the originating station with a request to board the train in an in between station by paying additional TATKAL charges. By this you are forced to buy TATKAL ticket from the originating station even though general quota tickets are freely available. What a shame that a Government owned Organisation is cheating people like this.

This is only a tip of the iceberg. I came to know of this only due to my personal experience. These things are silently done. The passengers may not be aware that they are denied tickets while a large number of berths are vacant in the train. There may be numerous other silent instructions from the Railways to maximise revenue.

There was another attempt to generate revenue which was withdrawn subsequently. The telescopic rate benefit was withdrawn for a brief period. If you want to travel for a long distance, reservation will be done only up to the place to which the particular train goes. If you have to board another train in your travel plan you have to buy a fresh ticket and a through ticket will not be given to you from your origin of travel. This will deny the passenger the benefit of telescopic rate which was enjoyed for many years. Likewise the increase in platform ticket price was also withdrawn immediately. Were these withdrawals due to public pressure or due to fear of negative image is not known.

Do you still think that the Railway has increased profit without affecting you common man!"

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