Staff Reporter

Coimbatore: The Coimbatore Consumer Cause has flayed the Railway Minister for not having reduced tatkal ticket charges as announced in the budget and also for increasing the tatkal quota, thereby, denying the common man the chance for getting reserved tickets.

According to the Secretary of CCC, K. Kathirmathiyon, 20 per cent of the sleeper class tickets were taken away to be sold at higher rates in the name of tatkal. Now the Railways had earmarked more tickets i.e., 30 per cent of sleeper class tickets for Tatkal without even an announcement in Parliament. Selling a product at a higher rate when in demand was black marketing and the Railway was doing that in the name of Tatkal, he said.

Increased Tatkal quota of up to 30 per cent in sleeper class denies the common man the chances of getting reserved tickets. For the first time, the Railways had earmarked 10 per cent of the accommodation for Tatkal in the reserved second class sitting also.

The Minister announced in the Budget speech that tatkal charges would be levied as a percentage of the fare subject to a minimum of Rs. 100 instead of minimum of Rs. 150 prevailing at present. The tatkal reservation days would be reduced from five to two. After the budget, the Railways issued a circular wherein it stated only about the number of days and the charges remained the same.

Only the tatkal booking period had been reduced from five days to two days with effect from August 1, all the other changes - even the small benefits to the passengers - were postponed for nearly three months and would be effective only from October 1. The Railways continue to collect charges in an unethical manner despite criticism from the public and the Parliamentary Committee.

He said the Minister should ensure that without the approval of Parliament the officials would not increase the fare through administrative circulars. Through administrative orders, many trains were converted by changing names as super fast trains and increased charges were collected. The Minister had promised to bring out a white paper on the financial status of the Railways. The CCC welcomed it in the hope that it would really bring out the whole truth.