CPI MP Binoy Viswam has requested Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to restore the senior citizen concession in trains which has remained suspended since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic in India. In the letter, he said crores of senior citizens across the country have been affected by the railway's decision to withdraw the concessions given to them.
While the decision was made in light of COVID-19, it has not been reviewed despite repeated demands of senior citizens as the country opened up once again after the pandemic, Viswam said. The Left leader pointed out that the Indian Railways was established with the primary purpose of providing the citizens of India with an economical and efficient mode of transport.
Over the years, over 50 categories of citizens, including seniors, were afforded concessions to make their travel affordable, he said. "However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these concessions were halted in the name of safety and prevention, with the implicit belief that they would resume after the pandemic abated and the country opened up again.
"Unfortunately, the government has used the COVID-19 pandemic to permanently remove these concessions, much to the detriment of the people of India," Viswam said. He also said that with over 7 crore senior citizens using the Railways between March 2020-2022, the impact of the withdrawal of concessions was "significant."
"In light of this, I appeal to you to restore the concession for senior citizens in the Railways. As many senior citizens are not in a position to pay the full ticket fee, the lack of concessions causes them great hardship. "Having served our country during their working life, it is important that we ensure that these citizens are afforded dignity and respect in their retired life," the CPI MP said.
(With PTI inputs)