Sindi disaster – eTicket Passengers struggle to get refund from Railways

Mumbai:  Although normalcy is restored at Sindi Railway bridge where displacement of railway tracks had led to disruption of train traffic between July 18 to 26, the e-ticket passengers who did not travel due to cancellation of trains are facing a problem in getting refunds.  Since many trains were cancelled, the railways should have refunded tickets automatically to all the passengers with e-tickets. But IRCTC, which manages online railway tickets, has made it mandatory for passengers to file ticket deposit receipt (TDR) to get refund, after which it takes minimum 90 days to refund money in case passengers did not travel.

However, consumer rights activists argues IRCTC’s stand is irrational and asks “why should passengers suffer due to lack of coordination between railway divisions and IRCTC? This arm of railways should expedite refunds,”.  “Even when a train is cancelled and hundreds of passengers have e-tickets, IRCTC is asking each passenger to file a TDR. In such cases, IRCTC should refund ticket amount immediately to all passengers,” says the consumer rights activists.

When 12290 Nagpur-CSTM Duronto was cancelled during Sindi crisis, money was not refunded within four days.  In turn IRCTC officials generated TDR to pay back the money.  However, not many passengers have been so lucky in this act as most of them are yet to receive refund against cancelled or delayed trains.

Shripad Pathak of Chandrapur was to travel to Akola from Nagpur on July 21 by Maharashtra Express (PNR 6221289431). However, as the train was diverted, he cancelled his tickets in the morning, but railways refunded only 50% amount to him. “As the delay was more than three hours, railways should have refunded me the full amount,” claimed Pathak.

While returning from Akola on July 23, Pathak boarded Maharashtra Express. The train was abruptly terminated at Badnera and passengers were asked to make their own arrangements to go to Nagpur. “Railways should pay us fare from Badnera to Nagpur too,” said Pathak.

Another waitlisted passenger, VA Patil (PNR 8502361426) for 12113 Pune-Nagpur Garib Rath said he was to travel on July 20, but the train was cancelled. “I’ve not been refunded the fare yet,” he complained.

Avdhoot Nandedkar and his wife (PNR 8502139287) from Nagpur paid Rs 650 for travelling in Nagpur-Secunderabad Express on July 23. After inquiry, railway officials were not sure whether the train will be cancelled or start from Wardha. Eventually, the train was cancelled.

“Imagine the inconvenience we would have faced had we travelled to Wardha to catch the train. My son filed a TDR for refund but till date the money has not been refunded,” said Nandedkar.

“Cancellation of train tickets exposes lethargy of IRCTC. When trains are cancelled for no fault of passengers why should they suffer to get back their money,” asks Anil Tare, who was to travel to Pune by Garib Rath on July 23 with his wife and two children.

“I paid Rs 2,800 for four tickets. As the train was rescheduled by more than 10 hours, I cancelled my journey. I’m entitled to a full refund and have filed a TDR, but have not received any money yet,” said Tare.