There is a popular adage in Hindi - mara hathi bhi sava lakh ka hota hai (even a dead elephant fetches you Rs. 1.25 lakh). However, Indian Railways does not subscribe to this view.
If you have dispatched an elephant to another place through Indian Railways' parcel service and it gets lost, misplaced or dies on the way, the maximum compensation that railway awards you is Rs. 6,000.
Even if your pooch is lost during transit and does not reach its destination, the maximum claim that you can expect is Rs. 120.
Everything has changed in Indian Railways but the maximum compensation that can be claimed on losing a pet in transit. It continues to be between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 120.
The rules were amended in 1990 but the compensation against loss of pets was not brought at par with their actual price.
Elephants are at the top of the list which entails a compensation of Rs. 6,000 and dogs are at the bottom and fetch only Rs. 120, if you care to claim compensation after hearing the maximum amount that could be given according to the Railways' manual.
Not just that, the amount is the same for all varieties of dogs - whether it is a German Shepherd, Labrador or Pomeranian, notwithstanding their actual present cost which runs into lakhs.
Besides, Railways (extent of monetary liability and prescription of percentage charge) Rules, 1990 make it mandatory for people booking something through parcel to pay 1% of the cost of baggage, goods and pets as a per cent charge to be able to claim compensation in case the parcel is lost.
"There is an anomaly here. If you declare the cost of your motorbike as Rs. 40,000 and pay 1% of the cost as per cent charge, you can claim the entire amount of Rs. 40,000 in case the motorbike is not delivered at the place but in the event of loss of a pet or its death on the way, the amount of compensation ranges between Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 120 only irrespective of its actual cost," said a railway employee posted in the parcel department of Bhopal railway station.
So, if you are sending your beloved pets to distant places through the Indian Railways' parcel service, do it at your own risk.
Extent of responsibility of railway administration
Elephants - Rs. 6,000 per head
Horses - Rs. 3,000 per head
Mutes, horned cattle or camels - Rs. 800 per head
Dogs, donkeys, sheep, goats, birds and others - Rs. 120 per head
Personal luggage - Rs. 100 per kg
Other luggage- Rs. 50 per kg