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News Entry# 287628
  
Dec 04 2016 (17:28)  ‘Defence personnel hit by cut in quota on trains’ (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 287628     
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Posted by: rdb*^  124780 news posts
Ministry says poor occupancy on weekdays cannot justify move
The Ministry of Defence has expressed concern that the steady withdrawal of the defence quota in trains was affecting the travel of troops on duty, posting and leave.
In a communication to the Ministry of Railways, it has been pointed out that there was a high demand for accommodation in trains during weekends and the logic of withdrawing the defence quota based on poor occupancy on weekdays was not appropriate.
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Railway Board had written to all Chief Commercial Managers (CCM) to allot variable quota to defence personnel on weekdays and weekends depending on the utilisation.
Defence sources said a few berths are allotted in sleeper class coaches of express trains for army personnel.
Though jawans are entitled to travel with their families in three-tier AC compartments, the quota is often released in the sleeper class. “The quota is made available only in select trains. Trains heading to the northeastern States, where there is a heavy deployment of armed forces, do not have any berths earmarked . In the Southern Railway, the CCM helps us access the emergency quota (EQ),” a defence officer said. In 2015, the Railway Board authorised zonal railways to decide on earmarking the defence quota based on utilisation. It was decided that if the occupancy of the general quota was more than 90 per cent, no defence quota should be earmarked.
If the utilisation was less than that, the zonal railway could consider allocating berths for personnel without affecting the general quota. “There was a clause that the defence quota could be withdrawn completely if the usage was less than 10 per cent. During weekdays, the movement of defence personnel is less compared to weekends. Jawans serving in remote locations, particularly the north and northeastern States, get leave to visit their family once or twice in a year. It is only fair they be accommodated in trains on priority,” the officer added.
S. Vijay Kumar
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