Earlier this year, a Kolkata man had posted about the ongoing ‘catering scam’ prevalent in the Railways’ pantry cars. Now, yet another post on the social networking site has drawn a lot of attention. Bareilly-based Neelabh Khanikar was travelling from Duliajan to Dimapur on the New Tinsukia Rajendra Nagar Patna Express with his family, when he bought two plates of egg briyani.
Khanikar was charged Rs80 for each biryani, but he had his doubts, so he went to the pantry car later and asked for the menu. There he found that the “actual price of one plate egg biriyani is Rs 63/- instead of Rs 80/-“, the man wrote in a detailed Facebook post that has subsequently gone viral. Khanikar even traced the server and recorded a video of him, asking the man why he charged more than the printed price. He continued recording even at the pantry car, asking officials why they were overcharging.
Khanikar was even asked to stop recording, and have a chat, but he refused to do so, saying he will bring it to the notice of the Railway minster, Suresh Prabhu. The officials say that they had overcharged by mistake, and didn’t realise the actual price of the food, finally agreeing to return the extra money to him.
Today I was travelling from Duliajan to Dimapur by train no-13281(New Tinsukia Rajendranagar Patna express). My berth was in coach no B-2 and I was travelling with my family. On the way I bought two plates of egg briyani from the pantry car of the train. The seller charged Rs 80/- for each plate. I asked him that whether the price was as per the rate card of the pantry car? He said that it was as per the menu card. Tough I was not convinced, I paid him Rs 160/-. Later I went to the pantry van and asked for the menu card. With little hesitation one guy handed over the menu card to me and there I found that the actual price of one plate egg biriyani is Rs 63/- instead of Rs 80/-. Then I raised my voice and what happened later you can see in the video. Finally they agreed to return the extra amount that they have charged for food items to other co-passengers too. Today, I took a very small step to prevent corruption. I urge everyone not to ignore and not to become a silent observer for any kind of corruption around you. Plz act against it. It is always better to contribute than complain.
“Kar ke dekho, accha lagta hai”
Jai Hind !
Back in February, a similar incident had come to the fore when Protapta Das, a Facebook user, had written about the experience of a retired IAS officer Shivendra K Sinha, highlighting similar overcharging of food items by the servers. At the time, IRCTC PRO Sandip Dutta ad clarified to the indianexpress.com that the “IRCTC is aware of the phenomenon of over-pricing in trains and has been taking measures to make passengers aware of the various price points of products available”. Since the catering services for most trains have been licensed out, it becomes difficult for IRCTC to keep tabs on individual train practices.
So, to make sure passengers know their entitlement, IRCTC has been tweeting out price lists, and encourages passengers to check the proper rate cards before making payments.
In the meantime, Khanikar’s post has generated a lot of buzz online, with close to 8,000 shares at the time of writing.