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'No address proof, no pass' rule irks commuters at Thane

Passengers protest, say the Allahabad High Court order was implemented without creating enough awareness

The railways’ alleged sudden implementation of an Allahabad High Court order requiring an address proof while issuing new season passes or renewing old ones saw a protest from a large number of passengers at Thane station yesterday.

The queue outside the season ticket counter at Thane station; (right) a notice about the rule pasted outside a counter after the protestThe queue outside the season ticket counter at Thane station

Many people had to wait for a long time to get their passes made and several of them got late for work. Some even preferred to buy a day ticket rather than waste time submitting their address details. Monthly pass holders at Thane station were irked after the authorities refused to issue season passes to those not having a valid address proof.


A notice about the rule pasted outside a counter after the protest

People standing in long queues sharply criticised railway officials for not creating enough awareness about the new rule and for failing to put up a notice on the station premises regarding its implementation.

The confrontation started around 9.30 am with people surrounding the ticket windows and arguing with the issuers. Commuters also alleged that authorities were rude to those who were not aware of the new regulation.

“At first, the ticket issuer was not ready to give season passes to those not having a valid address proof. But when we all protested together, the authorities finally agreed to issue passes after we submitted our addresses on a sheet of paper,” said Anup Save (26), a regular commuter from Thane to Andheri.

When commuters expressed displeasure over the time-consuming process, the authorities agreed to issue passes provided the pass holder wrote his address on the back of his season ticket identity card.

“This is a time-consuming rule. They should have at least had the courtesy to paste a notice across all the platforms and stalls so that we would have been aware of the new regulations,” said a commuter.

Following the protests, railway officials attached a notice about the new regulation on the season ticket counter near platform no. 1 of Thane.

The HC order
The railways’ decision to ask for a valid address proof comes after the Allahabad High Court’s order to note down the addresses of commuters while issuing new season tickets or renewing old ones. This has been done to make it easier to identify and punish those who commit offences under sections of the Indian Penal Code or the Railways Act.

Commuterspeak
Anup Sane At first, the ticket issuer was not ready to give season passes to those not having a valid address proof. But when we all protested together, the authorities finally agreed to issue passes after we submitted our addresses on a sheet of paper.

The other side
Commenting on the issue, Chief Booking Supervisor at Thane railway station, J R Meena, said, “We are just following the orders issued by the Allahabad High Court and we have already issued a notice to this effect in the newspapers. We don’t feel the need to put up notices on the station premises.”

Central Railway Spokesperson A K Singh said, “We had already issued a press release regarding the new regulation for season ticket holders. However, we will still put up a notice at Thane station for the benefit of commuters.”

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