BJP dubs railway budget crafty and misleading

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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) Dubbing the Railway Budget 2008-09 ''crafty and misleading'', the BJP today said it will extract more money from travellers than they would get by way of two-seven per cent reduction in fares announced for various classes.

Initiating the discussion on Railway Budget Vote on Account in the Lok Sabha, BJP member Hiren Pathak said all mail trains are proposed to be converted to superfast trains without increasing their speed and in the process the Railways would extract superfast surcharge from passengers who will not get any additional facility.

Similarly, the Tatkal scheme has been ''smartly manipulated'' by the Railways to collect additional amount of Rs 150 to Rs 300 per passenger by converting 40 per cent of berths in trains. This, he said, would further lengthen unlimited waiting list and passengers would be forced to pay extra for tickets booked under Tatkal scheme.

Secondly, in the event a passenger failed to board train for whatever reason, he would not get any refund. Third, the facility to book five days in advance under Tatkal scheme defeats the objective of providing facility to those who decide to travel at the last minute. Fourth, the Tatkal charges have been raised to a very high level.

Giving an illustration, Mr Pathak said Tatkal fare for AC two tier journey from Delhi to Lucknow would cost Rs 1130 per passenger as against normal fare of Rs 830. For AC three-tier journey the Tatkal versus normal fare would be Rs 904 and Rs 604 and for sleeper coach Rs 485 versus Rs 230.

The MP from Gujarat said another clever ploy employed by Railway to extract more money from passenger was to charge destination-to-destination fare even if a passenger board a train midway. Citing an example, he said he had to pay Jodhpur-Bandra fare for journey to Mumbai though he boarded the train at Ahmedabad.

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