“Time is money” and why waste it when you can fly away at the same price or even lower than that of the railways and the recent to come face to face with this fact is the South Western Railway.
Considering the airfares to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata from their centres cheaper than AC1 and AC2 train fares, Southern Western Railway has approved its officials request to fly to these places instead of travelling by trains.
The proposal was approved by the General Manager, South Western Railway on the 1st August who believes that this measure will help increase productivity considering the time restraints of the travel by train than by air.
Seeking the approval from the GM for air travel for the senior officials the Deputy General Manager for the zone proposed in a letter that read, “The one way travel time by train from any location in SWR to Delhi/Mumbai/Kolkata is more than 12 hours. It can be seen that flight fares of private airlines on mostly travelled routes are cheaper than that of 1AC/2AC train fares.”
It further said that meetings at Railway Board are arranged at short notice and allowing air travel will enable officers for “quick movement” from headquarters to Delhi.
Following which General manager, SWR Ajay Kumar Singh Aapproved the proposal and stated that “Branch officials are important people. If they are going to Delhi, it would take officers three days to travel for a two-hour meeting. This is in line with Central government procedures,”
The order has come a year after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report had argued given the airfare for 13 sectors showed that travelling by air was cheaper than by train for a large number of routes.
The report also compared the cost and the time taken for travel by premium trains to that of travel by air which showed making the latter a cheaper and preferable mode of travel.
The railways had taken measures since then to address the issue by cutting down the number of trains in which dynamic pricing was applicable.
As of now, according to a recent reply in Lok Sabha by the ministry, the scheme is prevalent in around 141 trains.
“With a view to improve the productivity of officers and a process reform on SWR, it is proposed to permit officers up to JS level to travel both ways by air when train travel one way takes more than 12 hours,” the letter stated.