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Railways justifies platform ticket price hike despite protests

Image result for trichy railway divisionThe doubling of platform ticket price from Rs 10 to 20 in a few stations in Trichy division sparked protests in the city on Wednesday by the AIADMK and consumer organisations. Meanwhile, the railways justified the hike claiming it was aimed at managing the rampant misuse of the railway station premises.
Workers of AIADMK staged a protest in front of the divisional railway manager's office demanding withdrawal of the hike stating that it was a clear misuse of monopoly status of the railways. Meanwhile, consumer protection council, Tamil Nadu alleged that the hike was a senseless move to raise money at the cost of passenger amenities. Seeing off elders and receiving them at stations was part of our culture and now even this was being taxed by the railways which has otherwise been propagating Indian culture.
In a representation to Johri, general manager, Southern Railways, Chennai and H Raja, chairman, passenger amenities committee as well as the the divisional railway manager of Trichy Udaykumar Reddy, the secretary of Tamil Nadu Consumer Protection Council, S Pushpavanam, said that the railway had not published any data to show that there was a surging crowd waiting to get into platforms.
"As of now no one collects or checks platform tickets as there are not enough staff for this purpose. Railways have to allot at least two employees at the western side and one at the eastern side. Assuming there are daily 200 people to buy platform tickets, railways can get a revenue of Rs 1.2 lakh a month by charging Rs 20. However, that will be eaten up by the salary of three employees. Hence, it is unnecessary to hike platform ticket price", he claimed. "We also object to the steep increase of car parking fee from Rs 10 to Rs 60. It almost costs a litre of petrol and more than a litre of diesel", he said.
Meanwhile, a group of AIADMK cadre headed by party functionary M D Rajaraja Cholan gathered in front of the DRM office and raised slogans against the steep hike in platform ticket price. Cholan refuted the reasons given by the authorities for increasing the ticket price.

"We have established many facilities like free Wifi, good waiting hall and eateries. Many people including college students who are not passengers come there to utilise free Wifi and chat for hours. After having snacks at refreshment stalls they disperse. They use the railway junction as a mall. Some students even use the station after parking their vehicle beside the premises", he alleged.
He said that the decision was aimed at bringing some restrictions on such people, that too for a brief period only. Moreover, during festival times it was usual to hike platform tickets both for raising revenue as well as for restricting unauthorised use of railway premises, he said.


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