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Chhattisgarh High Court to hear PIL seeking return of local trains with normal fare on February 15

During the hearing of the case before the bench of Chief Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon and Justice P.P. Sahu, Sudeep Srivastava, the counsel for the petitioner, sought time to study the Railway Board's reply and submit the rejoinder affidavit.

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The Chhattisgarh High Court on Wednesday adjourned a hearing of a PIL seeking the running of local trains in the state and on the issue of charging double fare in the name of a special train in the coronavirus period.

During the hearing of the case before the bench of Chief Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon and Justice P.P. Sahu, Sudeep Srivastava, the counsel for the petitioner, sought time to study the Railway Board’s reply and submit the rejoinder affidavit. The court has fixed the next hearing for February 15.

In its reply, the Railway Board said local trains will be run only when the situation is normal. The Board said trains are not running due to the coronavirus outbreak and only special trains are being run. Special trains charge 30 percent more fare than normal. Similarly, at least 500 km fare is being collected from the passengers.

Even if passengers travel less than this, they will have to pay the fare for 500 km. Apart from this, there are special surcharges in many special trains. Apart from the coronavirus outbreak, the Railway Board has not given any reason on what basis were normal Mail/Express trains being run as specials.

The petitioner’s counsel stated the Railways has not given any clear answer regarding the introduction of local trains in the state. In the petition, it has been charged to collect more fare in the name of special train and not to run passenger and local trains in the state.

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In its reply, the Railway Board also added the charge for the distance which has not been traveled in special trains. At the same time, Rs 50 per ticket is being collected for AC seat in the name of special charge. Similarly, more recovery is being done in each category. It may be known that most special trains are running on the same timings and stop along with their old racks. But they have been named special trains.

The Railway Board has not made any promise on the demand of running passenger and local trains in Chhattisgarh and said that passenger and local trains will be run when conditions are normal.

The petitioner argued that passenger and local trains have been started in other states including West Bengal from December itself and the Railway Board has not given any clarification in this regard.

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The Railway Board has stated in its reply that the exemption is not being given to elderly persons and many categories of persons because no person should travel unnecessarily.

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