New Delhi: In a bid to speed up its ongoing transition programme of converting coaches into high-capacity by adding extra berths, the Railway Ministry has also started the process in AC three tier compartments.
“We have included third AC coaches to speed up the transition plan. Now, it will be done simultaneously with the sleeper coaches. We expect the job to finish soon,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has in his budget speech this year had announced high-capacity sleeper class coaches for passengers with additional side-middle berths in sleeper coaches to accommodate more passengers in the trains.
This means there would be nine more berths in each sleeper coach.
The ministry is facing serious bottlenecks in implementing its much-touted high-capacity passengers coach project as it is causing serious “inconvenience” for the travellers.
Passengers in high-capacity coaches allotted side middle berths often end up getting into arguments with co-passengers over berth allocation despite their tickets specifying their seat and berth numbers.
Use of ticketing software in the old pattern at the booking centres has resulted in needless inconvenience to the passengers as the reservation tickets are being printed according to the old pattern (i.e. 72 seats per coach).
Thus, the allocation of actual seat may jump even to different coaches. For example, if the travelling ticket reflects reservation on sleeper coach on seat no 9, it means the allocated berth is upper one instead of lower (as it ought to be according to old pattern).
The major problems are faced by those boarding the train other than the originating station of the train. As the chart (which is the only way to guide them the actual number of coach) was being torn or removed.
Officials admit that there are certain lacunae while distributing berths and preparing charts. “We are aware of the inconvenience being caused by the passengers. As this is the transition period, the problem will exist till all coaches are converted into high-capacity ones,” he said.
Railways is also considering putting a note on every travelling ticket to inform passengers about the new system.
A provision of announcement in this regard at each station has been made by the Railways. “Passengers have been asked to cross-check their tickets before boarding a train,” the official added.