After the picture of a platform ticket issued at the Pune railway station for Rs 50, which is five times the original cost, went viral on social media, the Central Railway (CR) has clarified that the price has been temporarily increased to prevent crowding at the station in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Officials said the cost of the ticket was increased from Rs 10 per person to Rs 50 on March 18, and that it was only issued to those accompanying elderly, ill or differently abled travellers.
पुणे जंक्शन द्वारा प्लेटफार्म टिकट का मूल्य ₹50 रखने का उद्देश्य अनावश्यक रूप से स्टेशन पर आने वालों पर रोक लगाना है जिस से सोशल डिसटेनसिंग का पालन किया जा सके।
रेलवे प्लेटफार्म टिकट की दरों को कोरोना महामारी के शुरुआती दिनों से ही इसी प्रकार नियंत्रित करता आया है। https://t.co/X2HuPC5HUg
— Spokesperson Railways (@SpokespersonIR) August 17, 2020
Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav also issued a comment saying divisional railway managers were instructed to increase the cost of platform ticket at a local level so as to avoid crowding at stations. “This decision will be reviewed after the pandemic,” Yadav reportedly told ANI.
Social media was abuzz on Monday and Tuesday over the revision in cost after some well-known Twitter users, including Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, posted a picture of the ticket and compared it to the cost of the ticket during UPA rule.
कॉंग्रेस राज में रेलवे प्लेटफ़ॉर्म टिकिट ₹३ का भाजपा राज ₹५० हुआ। जय सियाराम। pic.twitter.com/xjUEPoCv5H
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) August 18, 2020
Others linked it to the “privatisation’ of the Indian Railways. A private firm known as BVG is managing Pune railway station since 2019 after Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) took over and appointed private agencies for station management. It was the first railway station in India to be thus handed over to a private entity for management.
“These tickets are being issued only to those who accompany the elderly, ill people, and others needing assistance. In the past too, the railway administration has made a special decision to increase the price or restrict the issuance of platform ticket,” read a statement issued by the CR.
Harsha Shah, an activist, said although it was true that the cost of the platform ticket had been increased in March 2020 to prevent crowding, the notification was only meant for 20 days. “After April 18, they did not renew the notification but continue to charge Rs 50. This is wrong. Since special trains are not being operated, the cost should also come down,” Shah said.
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