Side-berth issue still rankles rail passengers

Side-berth issue still rankles rail passengers

Side-berth issue still rankles rail passengers

The order banning the middle berth was issued by the Railway Ministry nearly two months ago following repeated complaints from passengers, but for practical reasons the order can be implemented only by the end of July.

Simple reason is that booking for tickets in railways is open 90 days prior to one’s journey. A notification cancelling the middle berth for side-seats and reintroducing the previous 72 seats per compartment instead of the present 81 seats was issued by the end of April. Reservation of tickets for the middle berths was stopped from the beginning of May.

“However, the tickets of those who had already booked could not be cancelled and hence a full three months must pass before it could be implemented,” said a top railway official.
Cancellation of the middle side-berths was given much publicity. “That seat is not valid. It has been cancelled by the government,” is a common remark this hapless passenger has to put up with. One such passenger, Ramesh said, “I paid money for my ticket and the railways has issued this. I really don’t know what to do when others display hostility.”
Also at the receiving end are the TTEs inside trains. Irate passengers opine that though the government has cancelled the middle berth, the TTEs are making money by selling those seats! 

Requesting anonymity a TTE said, “Ever since the order came out, I end up having a serious an argument with at least two passengers a day.” 

His colleague  suggested,  “Until the order can be implemented, the department ought to give wide publicity and make the passengers understand the practical problems involved in implementing this.”  

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