MP concession tickets going out to ineligible

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Here’s a shocker. The railways claim that not even one per cent of the current users of the MP concession tickets, otherwise known as Izzat monthly season tickets (MSTs), are eligible for them.

While the scheme is meant only for those with incomes less than Rs 1,500 a month working in the unorganised sector, it is being misused by even bank employees, lecturers and students, according to railway sources.

The railways, which conducted a drive,discovered that forged documents were being submitted to become eligible for the tickets priced at Rs 25 which can be used for travel upto 100 kms a day for a month under the scheme.

“The scheme has been widely misused. Even those who are not entitled to the Izzat MSTs are getting them by submitting forged income certificates,” confirms Public Relations Officer of the railways Thiruvananthapuram division, Khemraj Meena.

Although the Izzat MSTs are only meant to be used for travel from home to the workplace, they are being used much more widely, says another railway officer.

So far all people needed to do was provide a letter from the respective MP/MLA to become eligible for the scheme and railway officials didn’t dare question the request for concessions attested by these politicians, allowing the scam to perpetuate, say sources.

But now the railways have decided to get tough to prevent the misuse. From April 15 onwards all Izzat holders have been told to compulsorily register with the supervisors/ station masters and produce proof of address.

They will also have to fix their passport size photos on the reverse of their original income certificates and have them attested by the CBS/SM, explains Mr Meena.

“For proof of address, they can submit voters ID cards, passport, PAN card, driving license, ration card (only if earning member), nationalised bank pass book with photograph and the Unique Identity Card,” says a railway officer.

But the move has not gone down well with some elected representatives.

“We give the letter only to eligible persons after going through their ration cards. The railways are just trying to cut down on the number of beneficiaries. You can tell how poor they are by just looking at them,” says member of parliament, Kodikkunil Suresh.

Rail travel concession

(Category first, Element of concession second)

* Orthopaedically Handicapped: 50 per cent in 1AC and 2 AC; 75 per cent in other classes

* Mentally retarded persons : 50 per cent in 1AC and 2 AC; 75 per cent in other classes

* Deaf and Dumb persons: 50 per cent; 50 per cent

* Cancer patients: Cent per cent in 3 AC and SL; 50 per cent in 2 and 1 AC

* Thalassemia, Heart patients and Kidney patients: Cent per cent in 3 AC and SL; 50 per cent in 2 and 1 AC

* T B/ Lupus Vulgaris: 75 per cent; 75 per cent

* Senior citizens: Men 40 per cent; women 50 per cent

* Recipients of President’s/Indian police medal: Men 50 per cent; women 60 per cent
War widows: 75 per cent

* Students, unemployed youth: 50 per cent (subject to conditions)

* Accredited press correspondents: 50 per cent

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