Senior citizens have urged railway minister to end discrimination in fare concession to them for Tatkal tickets. Though senior citizens get 50% concession of tickets for female passengers and 40% for male, the same sops are not granted in basic fares while buying a Tatkal ticket.
The argument put by a section of senior passengers is that Tatkal is not a fare but a charge levied by the railways for additional berth quota it makes available. “The railways levy Tatkal charge for special quota but why senior citizens are not granted concession in basic fare,” asked Sharadchandra Kulkarni (68) from Akola.
Senior citizen concession can be availed even on premium trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto for all classes but when it comes to tickets under Tatkal, they have to pay full fare.
Take for example Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express, senior citizens pay around Rs526 extra per ticket for journey under Tatkal between Nagpur and Mumbai.
For travel between Nagpur and Mumbai (AC-III) ticket, general passengers pay Rs1,165. Under Tatkal, they pay Rs1,490, which includes Rs312 Tatkal charge. As per railway reservation rules, if a senior citizen is granted fare concession, the same ticket will cost him Rs964. However, they are paying same as general passengers.
Another senior citizen Vijaya Dalvi (74) says Tatkal charge may be justified for extra quota but why there should be discrimination in basic fare concession. “While booking e-tickets under Tatkal the reservation system has disabled the column of concession to senior citizens,” she said.
Central Railway public relations officer (PRO) P D Patil says, “It is true that full fare is charged from senior citizens, but it is policy decision being implemented across the Indian Railways. If fare concession is granted under Tatkal to senior citizens, its purpose will be defeated.”
However, Kulkarni questioned the railways move, saying Tatkal levy is already paid by senior citizens then why fare concession cannot be granted. “All senior citizens are not well off,” he said.