Sunday, November 19, 2017
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kumbh rail

HIKE IN FARES & MELA SURCHARGE TO YIELD BIG DIVIDENDS

Even before the Mahakumbh mela at Allahabad has started, the holy rivers have blessed the Indian Railways.  Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has not yet taken a dip in the Ganga but the Mother seems to have  showered her blessings on him in advance by ensuring good returns for the ‘dip’ he has taken in the other Ganga—the  ‘budgetary Ganga’ of the Railways.The hike in fares is likely  to mop up Rs. 1,000 crore during the Kumbh mela, for which people will be  rushing to the city from January 14 to March 10. Of course the hike will come into effect from January 21 so that those coming only for Makar Sankranti  will continue to enjoy the benefit of old ticket fares. But if they stay on for the remaining Shahi Snans then their return journey would be costlier. And those coming after Jan 21 will of course have to pay more. I may also mention that only recently, the Railways   imposed a Kumbh surcharge - ranging from Rs. 2 per ticket to Rs. 5 per ticket. It is thus clear that Allahabad, which has given so much to the nation in the form of several Prime Ministers and top bureaucrats,, will add to her glorious record by helping the Railways to enhance  their revenue. It is another matter that we have seldom got anything in return.


We must look towards the positive side too. As one of our readers has remarked: ‘We are paying high price daily for our bread and butter, eggs, fruits and vegetables. We have absorbed the steep hike in the prices of these essential items. But we don’t travel by train daily. It is only once in a while that most of us might be going out of the city.  We will hardly feel the pinch’.  Another gentleman says: ‘There has been no hike in train fares for the last ten years. But look at the fares of air-travel? They have been shooting upwards so often that one has stopped keeping an account of them’. He said, ‘Even so those wanting to rush speedily to their destination by air, pay the higher prices for an airline ticket  that will take them home to the  near and dear ones’
On TV channels one elderly person contacted said, to the utter surprise of the railways, that ‘there was nothing wrong in raising the passenger fares because bus fares are still very high’ Be that as it may, the fact remains that those commuting daily will have to pay more


But don’t we pay more and more as tempo fare?  

auto allahabad

 

TV channels have the habit of tutoring reactions, depending upon with whom and how much scores they have to settle with  different Government agencies. But not a single TV channel has taken up the cause of tempo passengers who have to yield to the blackmail of drivers of the three-wheelers as they keep on hiking fares unilaterally.

The Railways have raised fare rate in some cases by two paise per mile. But these tempos in many cases raise the fare by two rupees per  mile.

This is not all. They do so arbitrarily also. On the same route, one tempo  charges a lower amount and another a higher amount.  Every time the diesel price goes up, these tempos raise their fares arbitrarily. For instance, six months ago for a particular route, the passenger was paying Rs 4 . Then the price was hiked to  Rs 5, then to  Rs6 and now  for the same distance   
How can such a thing be tolerated. The Tempos have their union. But its writ hardly runs  in the city. They announced long, long ago that soon each driver will be required to wear a uniform, keep a photo identity card as well as a rate list, stop at scheduled halts and the body of the tempo will have painted on it the name of the driver, the owner, the phone number and so on. They were also given a code of conduct. Prior to that when Uday Shankar Jaiswal was the Traffic SP here, he too had announced that  all drivers will wear uniforms. Then again we were promised that during the Kumbh these rules would be implemented. But nothing has happened so far. Why? Why is leniency being shown to the tempos?
It need hardly be stressed that the drivers of these tempos   often encourage pickpockets to squeeze inside the crowded  vehicles. When the tempo is overloaded, a bit of jostling goes unnoticed. The pickpockets take advantage of these jumps and jolts to quietly take away the purse or the mobile phone of  the traveller. There is absolutely no check on the vagabonds which board these tempos. They appear to be just customers but in reality some of them could be collaborators.

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