11:00 AM, 15th Jul 2016
I reached Gopalganj Railway Station in order to cancel my waitlisted ticket for Vaishali train scheduled at 2:35pm from Siwan Junction. After waiting in queue for about 15 minutes and realizing that queue is not moving I got to know that there was a link failure at Gopalganj Station. I asked an official (who was having an early lunch in the office) for the reason of failure but he didn’t respond at all as if he didn’t care. Looking at the situation, my cousin suggested me to immediately reach Thawe station to cancel the ticket, since the clock was ticking and we had to cancel the ticket before 2:00pm in order to get a refund so we headed for Thawe station at 11:30am.
12:00 PM, 15th Jul 2016
We reached Thawe station at 12:00pm, looking at the long queue at the PRS, I was devastated. I let my cousin stand in the queue and went ahead to talk to the officials to discuss my situation. The officials assured me that they would clear the queue before 2:00pm and I would get the full refund and told me to calm down. At 12:40pm the link failed at the Thawe station, the guy at the counter checked several times with his colleagues and then put up a sign on the counter saying, “The Counter is closed because of the link failure” at 12:50pm. I requested with the counter guy to help me since I was running out of time and there was really very less time left for me to go to Siwan Junction to cancel the ticket. The counter guy then told me that going to Siwan Junction is my only option and any delay would only lead to no refund of my ticket. I took his advice and I and my cousin headed for Siwan Junction at 01:00pm.
After much struggle and taking so much risk on the road we finally reached Siwan Junction PRS counter at 2:15pm only to realize that the time had run out. I was devastated and exhausted and on top of that the officials at the counter were very rude. I was feeling cheated by the railway authorities and I wanted to talk to anyone who could at least listen to my problem and do something about it.
I started looking for the Station Master, Siwan Junction. I met him in his chamber and he told me that he could not do anything. I then asked for an official who could help me, he suggested meeting with DCI of Siwan Junction. After many findings, I finally got to know the office of DCI Siwan Junction. I had to wait for about 30 minutes to meet P K Shrivastava, DCI Siwan Junction. We had the conversation where I shared my problem only to discover that he could not help me. He, however, remarked that officials at Thawe Station could have helped me if they wanted to and said that there is a provision where if the link failure has happened, the station is entitled to do the offline cancellation of the ticket during that time. I asked him to connect with DCI Thawe and so that I could get my refund properly but not only he refused to do that but also said, “Whatever I have shared with you, do not tell DCI Thawe about it”.
Disappointed with my failures I reverted to Thawe Station in order to talk to DCI Thawe. After reaching Thawe Station at about 5:00pm in the evening I asked the guy at PRS counter for DCI Thawe, he refused to answer my question and instead asked me why I wanted to meet him. After sharing my problem he said DCI Thawe is not here. I asked the counter guy for his name for record keeping, but he refused to give his name. Then I headed to find the Station Master Thawe, and after meeting him and sharing my problem he made a call to someone and said, “There is a problem, please meet this guy“. He then sent me to another office where an official again heard my story again. This guy (also refuse to give his name) made a call somewhere and they chatted a bit on the call. He then said that there are no provisions for offline cancellation during link failure in Thawe station and said that there is nothing he can do about it. He then gave an example of a train crash and said, “Something like that has happened to you in this case and we are very sorry for your loss”.
I am sharing this story with you so that it could reach to someone who could help people like us in getting a better service from Indian railways. I am not alone with this problem, the link failure occurs almost every day in our areas and we just suffer.
For the record keeping purpose and as suggested by my uncle who is also a lawyer in criminal court Gopalganj, my PNR number for yesterday’s travel is 675-6585426.