It is being circulated in social media that Rs.20 is being collected as extra charges from Passengers in Train no: 22671 Chennai Egmore- Madurai Tejas express train. It is clarified that these charges are collected in line with the Railway board policy and in return for provision of packaged drinking water and newspaper. In view of the COVID pandemic, catering services, supply of packaged drinking water and newspapers were suspended. Now these services have been introduced with effect from 17-12-2021 and hence the ticket checking staffs have been instructed to collect the excess fare from passengers who have booked their tickets prior to 16-12-2021.
Premium Trains and additional services in Tejas
Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto/Tejas categories of trains are termed as premium trains operated by Indian Railways. As per the Railway board Policy catering charges are collected in advance (prepaid) for these trains and passengers have the option to opt out of catering services and accordingly no catering charges shall be collected from such passengers at the time of booking ticket. This policy was extended to Tejas trains also when the concept of Tejas trains was introduced in 2017. In addition to the on board catering services and option of prepaid catering charges in Tejas, Railway board policy provided for supplying of packaged drinking water and newspaper to passenger at a cost of Rs.20 which is to be included in the fare and it shall be collected irrespective of the option made by Passengers for catering services so as to ensure parity in services for all. Thus Tejas train has two element of cost component, one towards catering charges for which passenger has the choice to opt out and secondly the cost of Rs.20 towards Packaged drinking water and newspaper.
Suspension of Supply of Cooked meals and prepaid charges
In view of the pandemic situation prevailing from March ‘20 in the country, catering services were withdrawn from trains and no cooking was done in the pantry cars. only Ready to eat meals were supplied for passengers. Similarly, catering services in premium trains such as Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto/Tejas were withdrawn and no prepaid catering charges were collected from passengers. Similarly in Tejas express, extra charge of Rs.20 was also not collected as the provision of packaged drinking water and newspaper was suspended temporarily.
Resumption of Cooked food on board
Recently it was decided by Railway board to resume supply of cooked food on board along with Read to Eat (RTE) food. Accordingly, catering services resumed in Tejas express w.e.f 17-12-2021. Railway did not collect any charges towards catering services from passengers who had booked their tickets till 15-12-2021. The advance payment of catering charges was enabled on IRCTC portal to facilitate online booking of catering services for such passengers. Wherever passengers have not made any online booking of catering services the excess fare was collected from passengers on board where they opted for catering services. Along with these catering services the supply of packaged drinking water and newspaper also has been introduced w.e.f 17-12-2021 and the extra money of Rs.20 is being collected onboard for that purpose in line with Railway Board policy which ensures parity in supply of packaged drinking water and newspaper for all at a nominal cost.