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Unreserved coaches not now: Rly Board chairman
Rail users must wait a while to board unreserved coaches like pre-COVID days. The Railway Minister has no intention or rather plans to resume normal unreserved coach operations immediately. Disclosing the information was none other than Railway Board chairman Suneet Sharma who on Wednesday said that they would take a call on normal operations of unreserved coaches after the pandemic subsidies.
Interacting with reporters across the country through video call from the national capital, Suneet Sharma referred to the Ministry’s earlier “conscious decision” to not operate unreserved coaches during the pandemic and said, “People in general coaches were more in number than reserved coaches. Therefore, to curb the number of people on unreserved coaches and maintain general hygiene principles, we decided not to operate unreserved coaches then. It was the need of the hour.” Adding that the state governments had also told them that they were not ready to allow people to use unreserved coaches, the board chairman said, “So, we took a call (not to operate). Now we are operating a large number of trains, which are DEMUs and MEMUs that have unreserved coaches also. Once the pandemic subsides totally, we will take a call on operating unreserved coaches.” Similarly, the chairman evaded a query on resumption of senior citizen concessions and reduction of platform tickets, which are sold at Rs 50 per person in some stations.
Asked about vaccination of railway staff, Sharma briefed reporters about the decision of the Union government to pay a 78-day productivity linked bonus to all non gazetted employees of Indian railways and said, “We are also people on the frontline. As on date, almost 11 lakh employees have been vaccinated already. As far as their families are concerned, we are on track.”