NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways on Tuesday justified increasing the platform ticket price to Rs 50 and said it was a necessary step in the times of the corona crisis.
Talking to ANI on the issue, Chairman of Railway Board, Vinod Kumar Yadav said that such steps are necessary to maintain social distancing on the platform in the view of COVID-19 and it has been done under this view.
"At this time the whole country is struggling with COVID-19 pandemic. We had raised platform ticket prices to maintain social distancing at the time when the coronavirus started growing in March. Even now, the trains we are running are following the standard of social distancing at the station," Yadav told ANI.
He said that we have instructed that only those people who have confirmed tickets will be allowed on the station premises. We are not allowing those on the waiting list. We have authorised our Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) for platform tickets, according to the local situation, wherever they feel that the congestion is increasing at the station and there is difficulty in maintaining social distancing, they can increase platforms ticket rates.
Under this directive, DRM has decided to increase the price of platform tickets at many big stations in the country. This will help in containing the spread.
The chairman has made it clear that after the end of the corona crisis the price of the ticket can be changed by assessing the situation.
"The instruction has already been given to the divisional railway manager that after the crisis they will review the situation for changing the price. There is a provision that whenever there is a special occasion, such as a festival season when it gets very crowded at the stations, we don't want people to come from outside who are not passengers and increase the crowd by taking platform tickets unnecessarily. According to the circumstances, the divisional railway manager will review," he said.
Earlier in the day, the Indian Railways clarified that the increase in the cost of platform tickets by Pune junction has been done to dissuade people from coming unnecessarily onto the platforms and to ensure social distancing is followed amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The clarification from Railways came after senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had stated that the price of platform tickets had been exorbitantly raised from Rs 3 in the Congress rule to Rs 50 by the incumbent BJP government.