Jamshedpur: Senior citizens said on rail travel concession withdrawal: Now it’s just to take the bite out of their mouths

Jamshedpur (Vishwajeet Bhatt): Little by little the government is withdrawing the facilities and concessions available to citizens one by one. Now the matter has come to the fore. We are not saying that, on the question of the exemption granted to the elderly on train journeys, an old man said it in a heartbeat. Leaders of all railway unions, senior citizens and common people say that due to their methodology and carelessness, the railways waste so much money every year that this money can be given to elderly people, patients etc.

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Surprised by the silence of public representatives

What is surprising is that MPs, MPs and ministers who are enjoying all the facilities for free are silent on this very serious and delicate issue. If all together raise this with one voice at the appropriate platform, then the government may consider restoring this facility once again. Railway sources say that in 2016 the railways made concessions optional. In the last two decades there has been much discussion about the concessions given by the Railways. In this, many committees also recommended withdrawal of concessions. As a result, in July 2016, the railways made the concession given to senior citizens optional while booking tickets.

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There is no hope of resuming the concession

In July 2017, the Railways also launched a scheme for ‘Concession Permits’ option for senior citizens. Corona not only killed thousands of people and put a large number of people out of work, but also the concession of the elderly could not be saved from its ravages. Railways had suspended concessions from March 2020, since then this facility is completely closed. Now there is no hope of starting it again, because the government has stopped it completely.

What does the CAG report say?

According to a 2019 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the reaction to the ‘Give It Up’ scheme from senior passengers was not very encouraging. The report said that out of a total of 4.41 million senior citizens passengers, 7.53 lakh (1.7%) opted to forego the 50% concession and 10.9 lakh (2.47 %) renounced 100% of the concession.

Women used to get 50 percent off and men used to get 40 percent off.

For seniors, women used to get 50 percent off, while men used to get 40 percent off. The age for women in this category was at least 58 years and for men 60 years. An elder says that the concession they gave us was very important and it was like a big help for those who cannot afford the expensive travel expenses. In many households, the elderly are treated as an additional member. They have no income of their own. These concessions helped them move somewhere. Senior citizen concessions should be reinstated along with regular train services. Most seniors cannot pay the full rent.

On an average, one lakh passengers travel from Chakradharpur Railway Division every day

Chakradharpur Railway Division officials say that on an average, one million passengers travel on the Chakradharpur Railway Division every day. Of these, barely two or three percent constitute the number of elderly people. It is a strong argument of the railway union officials, the senior citizens and the common people that giving concession to two or three lakh people in the railways will not do much harm.

Decision to suspend concessions against the public welfare character of the Railways

Krishna Mohan Prasad, General Secretary, OBC Railway Employees Union, South Eastern Railway

“The decision to suspend the concessions which was the public welfare nature of the railways goes against this form of railway. Our senior passengers are entitled to concessions. Our country is democratic. In this, respect and cooperation of the elderly is the responsibility of all Indian institutions and the government. Our organization is against the decision to suspend concessions for the elderly. We demand that the Railways recover this facility”.

This is a very sensitive matter of passenger comfort

Shashi Mishra, General Secretary, South Eastern Railway Men’s Congress

“It is a very sensitive issue of passenger amenities. The basis on which the Railway Board has closed this facility is meaningless. All public representatives, including MLAs, MLAs and Ministers, should raise their voice against this senseless decision of Railways.By raising this serious issue at proper platform compel govt and Railway Board to restore this facility.It is surprising that gradually govt is taking away the facilities one by one and all our public representatives shut up”.

The facilities given to MLAs and MLAs should be cut

Jawaharlal, Secretary, South Eastern Railway Men’s Union

“This is not just a matter of seniors but of the people of the country. Concession must be given to senior citizens at any cost. Instead of this reduction, the facilities given to MLAs should be cut. There are many such articles on which railway money is wasted like water. The Railway Board should close it and give concession to old, helpless and sick people. Similarly, the elderly are confined to a corner of the house. The life expectancy of the elderly will be reduced once this facility is discontinued.

This decision of the government is painful

Santosh Agrawal, President of East Singhbhum District Agrawal Conference

“It is a wrong decision by the government to withdraw the concession to the elderly. This facility was available to the elderly since independence. During the Corona period it was fine, but now that everything is normal, the facility should be restored. This is a painful decision by the government. All organizations should oppose this.”

This is the right of the elderly, the government is killing our rights

Siyaram Sharma, Retired State Govt

“This government decision is totally wrong. This government is determined to snatch the morsel from the mouth of the common man. One by one, all the facilities are being dragged. We have a problem in the Corona period. Now that everything is normal, the government should give their right to the elderly. This is the right of the elderly. The government is killing our rights.”

This decision is a violation of our fundamental rights.

Krishnadev Yadav, ex-serviceman

“This decision by the government or the Railway Board is a violation of our fundamental rights. No government has done this. This government does not want to leave any way of life. In the same way, the elderly feel neglected on all sides. If there was a discount on travel, I could spend my time wandering around somewhere. Now even that hope has been dashed by the government.”

After all, what treasure of Kuber will the government get?

CL Mishra, retired officer, Tata Steel

“All the government’s development claims and promises are fine, but what is this government trying to prove by taking away the rights of the elderly. What Kuber treasure will the government finally get by ending the exemption given to two-three percent of the senior citizens traveling on the railways. This facility should be restored as soon as possible.”

One by one, the government is taking away their rights from the common man.

TN Mishra, Retired Workers College

“One by one, the government is taking away their rights not only from the elderly but also from the common man. Pension withdrawn. Government jobs are not available. Now the travel concession has been taken away from the old people. After all, why is the government obsessed with taking away everything instead of giving something to the common man? It makes no sense. The concession should be restored soon.”

The government wants to imprison the elderly in a corner of the house

Ramji Mishra, retired employee of Tata Steel

“The facilities that old people used to have should be available. If there was an exemption on rail travel, then they used to roam around their village, relatives or any place of pilgrimage. Now that the exemption has been unemployed, I am not able to muster the courage to go anywhere. It seems that the government wants to imprison the elderly in a corner of the house. The exemption should be restored immediately.”

Nothing can be done in this matter at the level of the Railway Division.

Manish Kumar Pathak, Senior Commercial Manager and Public Relations Officer, Chakradharpur Railway Division

“Whether or not to give a concession to someone is a decision of the Railway Board. Nothing can be done in this matter at the level of the Railway Division. Because the policy is decided by the Railway Board itself. As for the new concession, this decision will also be taken by the board itself.

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