IRCTC offers travel insurance for free of cost, which will include a cover of Rs 1 lakh against theft or robbery
Railway staff stands outside Tejas Express in uniform influenced by traditional Gujarati wear
Ahead of the launch of second Tejas Express, the Indian Railways (IR) added a bumper insurance cover of Rs 25 lakh on the list of many perks. Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal will flag off the train, which will run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, today.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation will offer the Rail Travel Insurance of up to Rs 25 lakh for free of cost, said an official from IRCTC. The Tejas passengers will also be entitled to compensation for theft/robbery during the journey and train delay up to two hours.
"The complimentary insurance also includes an exclusive coverage of R1 lakh against household theft /robbery during the journey," the official said. "IRCTC will also pay a compensation of Rs 100 if the train, during its run, is delayed by over one hour, and Rs 250 if the delay is more than two hours," he added.
The second private train in the country, operated by the IRCTC, will offer delicacies from both Gujarati and Marathi cuisines. Kombdi Rassa, Bakarwadi, Konkani chicken, Gujarati kadhi and khakras are some of the items on the menu.
"Service in the train will be done through trolleys similar to airlines. The uniform of the rail host/hostess is of traditional Gujarati fashion as against the modern outfit in the first Tejas train that runs between New Delhi and Lucknow," the official added.
Inside view of the second Tejas Express
There are, however, a couple of disadvantages too. The train ticket that would cost Rs 1,600 does not offer child concession, and there will be dynamic pricing during busy and festive seasons, and also when the demand is high.
Meanwhile, the Western Railway (WR) changed the timings of 13 trains coming to Mumbai and 16 trains leaving Mumbai to accommodate Tejas Express. Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer of WR, said 11 trains will run at a mere 5 to 10 minutes delay at intermediate stations. Ahmedabad-MGR Chennai Central Navjeevan Express will run with 25 minutes delay and Porbandar — Mumbai Central Saurashtra Express will run at 55 minutes delay but will still arrive at their respective destinations on the present arrival time. There will be 5 to 10 minutes difference in time of train leaving Mumbai, including 16 mail/express trains and four mainline EMU trains.
Hurdles await roll-out
Two hurdles await the roll-out of the Tejas Express, with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) demanding a change in the uniform of the train staff and WR trade unions' call for protest at the launch in Ahmedabad.
The MNS said it won't allow the train to enter Mumbai if the traditional Gujarati uniform is not changed. "The train caters to both the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra so it is unfair to have uniform of the Gujarati culture," said MNS leader Milind Panchal.
The trade unions of the WR have lined up outside the launch site to protest against the privatisation. They have claimed that this was an effort to completely privatise the railways. Privatisation will decrease the number of railways employees, leading to unemployment, said the unions.
The railway board late on Thursday held an urgent meeting with one of the unions in an attempt to pacify them. The National Railwaymen Federation of India was assured that there would not be any privatisation of railways.
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