Travel

A weighty matter: when the Railways decided to re-enforce excess baggage rule

The Indian Railways decided to re-enforce its 30-year-old excess baggage rule, but had to withdraw it due to the flak it received from the public

If Geet (Kareena Kapoor) were to travel to Bhatinda with all that luggage today (eight pieces when I last counted) as she did in the movie Jab We Met, she would have to pay a hefty fine to the Indian Railways for the excess baggage. She almost misses her train but is hauled on board by helpful co-passengers after they first pull up her luggage.

The Indian Railways (IR) always had a fine for excess baggage on paper, but it was not enforced strictly till earlier this month, when it decided to do so.It launched a six-day drive to raise awareness about the rule through surprise checks in trains and fined erring passengers. As expected, a large number of people vociferously took to social media, criticising the move, and the negative feedback forced IR to withdraw the decision. The rule continues to exist like before but minus the strict enforcement but the Railways still hopes that passengers will book the excess baggage in the luggage van, on their own.

Most of us have suffered the inconvenience of fellow-passengers inconsiderately taking up all the storage space with unreasonable quantities of luggage, or blocking the corridors, and the path to the doorway, with their suitcases and bags. Ved Prakash, Director, Information and Publicity, Railway Board, said they were getting a lot of complaints from passengers about fellow travellers carrying excess baggage. “In a long train journey, the lack of space to move about or even sit comfortably, can affect their whole journey. The move to enforce the fine was to encourage people to speak up against the practice of carrying excess baggage and prevent them from doing so themselves,” he explained.

The backlash was expected, as trains are used by the common man — farmers, small-scale traders, young people moving out to study or work. They would have to move a lot of luggage and the best way to do it would be to use the large network of the Indian Railways.

Air India increases charges for excess baggage

Meanwhile, Air India has increased its charges by ₹100 for excess baggage. The State-owned carrier has increased its baggage charges from ₹400 per kg to ₹500 for domestic travellers.

The Rule book

Passengers of sleeper and second class are allowed 40 kg and 35 kg of baggage respectively. For anything more, to a maximum of 80 kg and 70 kg respectively, they have to pay excess baggage charges.

AC two-tier passengers are entitled to travel with 50 kgs and are entitled to an additional 50 kgs on paying extra.

AC 3-tier sleeper/AC chair car passengers are allowed 40 kgs and have to pay excess baggage of up to a maximum of 80 kgs.

Excess luggage will have to be put into the luggage van.

To know more about the Indian Railways’ luggage rule, visit www.indianrail.gov.in/luggage_Rule.html

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:48:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/a-weighty-matter/article24151956.ece

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