Friday, March 03, 2006

Lalu Prasad Rocks!

For once, I have only positive things to say about Lalu Prasad. On 26th Jan he launched anew scheme under which if there are any berths left empty in Rajdhani, automatically people with reservations in lower berth would get upgraded to higher berth. This would help in creating additional revenues for railways as the more and more people with Waiting List status would now get confirmed seats which till recently was not possible.

I witnessed the scheme 1st hand on my way back to Mumbai. I and Suvi got upgraded to 2nd class (2 Tier AC) from 3 Tier but not before some drama that we had to go through. As we parked our heavy luggage in our seats in 3-tier, another gentleman came and said that the seat in whcih we had kept the bags belonged to him! I told him that our tickets had the seat number but he said even his ticket had the same number!! In the same compartment, many people found similar problem. I jumped out to have a look at the chart and to my shock found that my name was not displayed against my seat number. The gentleman whose name was printed then pointed to another list down below on the chart. On it were written few names of passengers who had been upgraded to 2 iter AC. The list contained my and suvi's name. In normal circumstances I would have been happy but with less than 10 minutes for train to depart, I had a huge task of crossing 7 boggies to reach 2 tier AC coach. I rushed inside the coash, quickly told suvi we have to go..took the huge Nike bag (must be weighing around 25 kgs or so) in my shoulder and jumped outside the coach. Told suvi to reach 2tier from inside the compartments. The list didn't show in which compartment my booking was upgraded to had to check my name against each list of 2 tier ac coach. Finally found my name on the 4th compartment. Quickly kept my luggage inside and checked the watch. Still 5 minutes to go. Rushed outside and ran back again to my compartment, in between also checking if suvi is somewhere in between. Luckly found her crossing the 5th compartment and told her to jump ouside with the remaining luggage. Took the luggage and we both panted back to our new coach. 2 minutes rest, and the train started.

later when the TT came to check the tickets, he handed me a feedback form. I wrote that though its a nice scheme but peope are caught unaware about it and it creates unneccessary hassles. They should perhaps start printing on the ticket to reconfirm your ticket status on station for possible upgrades.

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