Madurai MP wants Railways to restore passenger concessions

3 months ago 21

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Concessions such as those for senior citizens, patients and students were withdrawn in December 2020

Madurai MP, Su. Venkatesan, has appealed to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, to restore passenger concessions for railway journeys.

In a memorandum handed over to the Minister in New Delhi on Friday, Mr. Venkatesan welcomed the restoration of most of the train services that were cancelled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 53 concessions given to almost 21.75 crore passengers have not been given back except in the case of railway employees. Even for railway employees, the introduction of the e-pass system has restricted their travel facility, the memorandum said.

As per CAG, 11.45% of reserved passengers avail of railway concessions. Out of these, railway employees, for whom concessions are statutory, constitute 37.2%, and senior citizens 52.5% . Patients constitute 3.8%., persons with disabilities 3.6% and other concessions including to media persons constitute 2.9%

By a commercial circular dated December 7, 2020 all concessions except for railway passes were withdrawn in festival, holiday special and clone trains.

All the concessions were allowed in the course of time for various reasons out of social necessity and obligations. Even war widows, sports persons, kisans, youth and students enjoyed the concession, the memorandum said.

The senior citizen concession costs only ₹1,400 crore per year. In a country where 20% of population is below the poverty level, the concessions are essential to ensure pilgrimage and tourism. Withdrawal of concessions has only made passengers not travel even for necessity, it said.

As colleges and schools are reopening, the extension of season tickets including student concessions was of utmost necessity, the MP said, and appealed to the Minister to restore season tickets including free and concessional season tickets to students and market vendor season tickets to rural merchants.

In order to facilitate the concession, Mr. Venkatesan also wanted the Railways to run ordinary passenger trains and attach unreserved coaches in the express and mail trains.

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