Incidents Like Farmers’ Protest On Rail Tracks Not Sudden, Railways Should Inform Passengers: Consumer Forum [Read Order]
Incidents like farmers’ protest do not happen all of a sudden and the Railways might have prior intimation of such protests on its tracks about which it should inform the passengers, a Delhi consumer forum has held while directing the Railways to cough up Rs 2 lakh to be paid in equal parts to the eight passengers, including two minors, who complained of harassment during their train journey in April, 2015.
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, North, directed the Railways to give a compensation of Rs 25,000 each to the eight passengers whose journey to Amritsar turned into a “nightmare” because of the surprise changes and delays in the running of the Shatabdi train due to farmers’ agitation leading to termination of train at Bias station in Jalandhar.
While the Railways claimed that its Shatabdi trains are the most punctual trains, but it has to keep the safety of passengers in mind, the consumer forum bench of KS Mohi and Subhash Gupta said, “It has come on record that OPs had to suspend journey at Bias station because of agitation by the farmers. Such incidents do not happen all of a sudden, the Railways might have prior intimation about the protest by farmers on railway tracks and thus should have not brought the train on track”.
“Even otherwise there was no intimation to the general information or broadcasting by the Indian Railways to apprise the affected passengers about discontinuity of journey. Therefore, the passengers were taken by surprise and the complainants herein had to suffer without any fault of theirs. We feel that it is a fit case where the complainants should be adequately compensated for the inconvenience, harassment suffered by them at the hands of OPs,” it held.
In the instant case, eight complainants, one being 70-year-old and two minors, filed a complaint alleging that they had planned to and fro travel between New Delhi and Amritsar on April 27, 2015, for which they had made advance booking of rail, hotel and taxi. They had confirmed return ticket for Swarna Shatabdi Express.
The train was to leave from New Delhi Railway station at 7: 20 am on April 27, 2015, and reach Amritsar at 1:40 pm the same day. The total cost of to-and-fro journey by rail was Rs 11,629.
On April 27, 2015, the train reached Bias station at 1 pm and it was announced that the train would halt there only for 2 minutes, but remained at the Bias station without any announcement made by the railways for hours together. There was no catering service or water supply.
After an unscheduled wait of four hours at Bias station, it was announced that the train would not go to Amritsar and would perform return journey from Bias railway station itself and that the passengers should make their own arrangements to proceed to Amritsar.
This led to the complainants making all efforts to find any conveyance to reach Amritsar and finally, a TSR driver agreed to take them to Amritsar for Rs. 4,000. By the time they reached Amritsar, the booking of the taxi which was to take them to the hotel and then to Wagah Border stood cancelled.
That was not all.
The complainants had return tickets for the next day from Amritsar railway station. When they reached the station, they were told that the train will not touch Amritsar and will return from Bias station and they will need to make their own arrangements to reach Bias.
The forum said, “The facts and circumstances delineated in the complaint would speak by itself about undue hassle, inconvenience, harassment and restlessness of the complainants and their journey and tour to city of Amritsar turned out to be a nightmare.”
It directed the Railways to shell out compensation and Rs 16,000 towards litigation expenses.
Read the Order Here