BHUBANESWAR: Strange as it may sound, Indian Railways is charging different fares for travelling the same distance in a particular local train that runs under the jurisdiction of two of its zones - South Eastern Railway (SER) and East Coast Railway (ECoR).
If a passenger travels from Kharagpur to Bhadrak in Kharagpur-Bhadrak passenger special, he/she will have to pay Rs 40 as the fare for travelling 181 km. Surprisingly the fare almost doubles (Rs 75), if the same passenger travels the same distance on the same train from Bhadrak to Kharagpur.
Perhaps, it is the only train in the Indian Railways that charges two different fares for travelling the same distance. Passengers in the train have been subjected to fare anomalies for the last two years as the discrepancies by the Railways started after the normalisation of train journeys post-COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is ridiculous to pay double the amount for travelling the same distance. How can the Railways charge two different fares? We have raised the matter before the railway officials time and again, but no step has been taken to rectify the anomaly,” rued Jaleswar rail users’ committee president Sukumar Rana.
SER officials said the fare anomaly continues to trouble passengers as due correction has not been made by the ECoR. “The rail fare was hiked during the Covid-19 pandemic to make it sustainable. We did fare corrections post-COVID, which is why the fare charged from Kharagpur to Bhadrak is the ordinary old fare. Similar corrections need to be done by ECoR,” said an SER official.
ECoR authorities, on the other hand, said the matter is under consideration. “The proposal for changes in rail fare has been sent to the railway board following complaints from passengers. No communication has been received from the board so far,” said a senior official.