Hyderabad: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been asked to pay a compensation of Rs 63,000 for causing inconvenience to a senior couple from Kerala, who were traveling in the pilgrim special tourist train covering Goa, Hyderabad and Kolkata along with many other tourists.

Way back on December 10, 2014, two senior citizens, G Surendran, a 75-year-old former IPS officer and his wife, boarded the 11-day-long pilgrimage trip arranged by IRCTC. The itinerary and the brochure had specified that the tour package was for 11 days with 5 nights stay in Deluxe Air-conditioned rooms in quality hotels (deluxe). Additionally, the package entailed AC vehicles for local transport and sightseeing.

However, according to the complainant, Mr Surendran, at Goa, Hyderabad and Kolkata the hotel check-in was done very late.

“At Goa, the check-in was arranged for afternoon and not morning as was assured while in Hyderabad and Kolkata, it was done for next morning instead of the previous day evening. So immediately after check-in we had to freshen up hastily and rush up to the bus for sightseeing,” he said.

The complainant further added that “in the hotels we were supplied only average food prepared by the IRCTC for pantry purposes. For items bought from the hotels we had to pay from our pocket. No facility was provided anywhere for wash and change before boarding the trains even though as per the itinerary air-conditioned rooms were to be provided in good hotels, particularly considering our age.”

The complainant had booked two deluxe second tier A/c category seat for an amount of Rs. 58,300

Denying all allegations made by the complainant, IRCTC in its statement to the Consumer Forum said, “IRCTC had not deliberately changed any travel route or delayed the running of train so as to make any undue advantage of it. The few hours delay and change of route for short distances happened due to operational reasons and because of directions given by Indian Railways as per the availability of track. The complainant and other tourist did not suffer any inconvenience due to this. It is specifically stated in the brochure that itinerary was tentative and can be changed or modified subject to the smooth and timely running of the train.”

Considering the arguments of both the parties, the Thiruvananthapuram consumer forum directed payment of Rs. 60,000 to the complainant as compensation and another Rs. 3,000 as cost for the proceedings within one month from the date of the order failing which the compensation amount carries interest @ 6% per annum from the date of default till realization.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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