This concerns the article on Lalu hiking rail fare deceitfully.
I am a regular commuter from Dahanu Road (Northern Maharashtra) to Andheri (Mumbai). Since July 1 the monthly season ticket fare for 9021 DN & 9022 UP, Flying Ranee Express (nos. now changed) that runs between Surat and Mumbai Central (approx 260 kms) and considered the lifeline for thousands of the daily commuters (along with few other trains), had been indiscriminately hiked under the pretext of making these trains SUPER-FAST.
The Western Railway, which earns (if I'm correct) the maximum revenue from this particular service never bothered to take the daily commuters into confidence nor even had the slightest courtesy to provide better travelling amenities. Ironically, the pantry car service was discontinued around the beginning of this century saying that it was not needed as the distance it travelled wasn't much.
Then how come this time they found the same distance longer than before which prompted them to increase the fare? At present the rate for ticket is Rs 10 extra (to be taken separately as express fare). The season ticket has been increased by Rs 150. So what I used to pay as Rs 360 per month earlier, now I have to empty my pockets for Rs 510 per month for the same number of seats, same number of halts and same travelling time.
Though of late there's been a notice on the wall adjoining the station master's office at Dahanu saying that Lalu Yadav has declared that this status of super-fast will be withdrawn soon, there will be no re-fund (or adjustment) of the extra money to all those it has charged so far in two months.
Now how can he justify this when the ban will be ineffective due to gross errors on part of the Indian Railways and also when not all of the daily passengers have paid for the extra fare, but only a few?
This is a clear matter of indecisive actions/policies of the "peoples' elected government". And I, along with thousands of daily commuters, would be happy if people's force and media's responsible role will compel the railways to shell out all that money which Lalu has LOOTED under the name of super-fast tag.
Here I would like to point out that even after the status was granted, the train used to reach its destination late on many occasions. There have been incidences where a so-called passenger train was allowed to leave before this super-fast train on its downward journey to Surat from Mumbai-Central.
Also the concerned railway authorities of Andheri station made no announcement for this adjustment. A written complaint regarding this was also made in the complaint book at Andheri station.
Above all no extra facilities has been provided to the daily commuters of this train after granting it the status of super-fast. Sometimes without any alternative arrangements couple of coaches are removed or altered from front to rear and vice-versa. So one can just understand that what would be the state of those who never get to sit till their final stop, sometimes for three hours at a stretch.