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Don’t bite if you can’t chew.

24th February 1993 day of Railway Budget. On the same day, during the rail budget, the second class 3 tier sleeper and air conditioned 3 tier sleeper class were launched in the Indian Railways.

Earlier Indian Railways used to have second class 2 tier sleeper, in which second class seating was provided for passengers 24 hours and upper berths from 10 pm to 6 am. Everything was manual. Once the charting was done, the entire arrangement would go into the hands of TTE. TTE of the train used to be the Brahmadev of this system, only they knew where the berth and seat is vacant and who is entitled to sleep, well!

Since 1993, the Second sleeper Class 3 tier came into existence and the Second 2 Tier class was discontinued from the rail service. Since then, there has been no change in the mindset of the railway passengers. Even today, the season pass holders and short distance travellers consider sleeper class as old 2 tier. There are more unauthorised people in the coach than the people with ticket.

Actually the concept of the three-tier sleeper was that it would become a separate class, so that the passengers traveling long distances could travel comfortably.

The railway administration started to depolarize the concept of the sleeper class by inventing RAC tickets in its reservation system. Each reserved compartment, whether it is air conditioned or non air conditioned classes, has a side lower berth which can be opened and divided into two seats for two RAC passengers. These RAC passengers keep, circling for just a single confirmed berth behind the TTE like begani shaadi me Abdullah Deewana and unless a berth is vacant or a confirmed passenger cancels their journey accidentally after the chart is made, they can’t get a seat. I think, RAC passenger who cannot get a berth by paying the full fare and has to travel entire journey without sleeping is a direct injustice by the Railway administration.

From here starts the process of unauthorised, extra passengers in reserved coaches. RAC passengers, PRS waiting list passengers are trying to enter forcefully in the reserved compartment. And as if this is not sufficient, MST pass holders and the passengers traveling for the short distance completed the misery. Passage, upper berth, the space between two berths, at any place, these people are willing to travel even standing. Nobody cares about reserved and long distance passengers, not even the railway administration.

Every reserved compartment, even if it is not air-conditioned, should have TTE working on duty, and make sure that no extra passengers are boarding. The rules should be followed in a proper manner and instead of charging a penalty, the extra passenger should be evacuated from the compartment by taking legal action. It is the responsibility of the additional ticket issuing administration to accommodate the extra passenger. The passengers who booked long distance reserved tickets months in advance are not the ones who should suffer. Separate arrangements are necessary for MST holders.

All this provision will have to be done by the railway administration as soon as possible, otherwise the second class three tire sleeper will have no meaning.

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Contributed by : Karan

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