Submitted by Editor on Wed, 2015-12-23 20:32 Bengaluru: What do you do when you get into a train with confirmed tickets for a really long journey, but are evicted from your seats by ticketless passengers, forced to travel sitting, and also lose your footwear, books and get your shirt torn in the bargain? We curse our fate (my bad luck), the railways (bloody inefficient), the government (sab chor hai) and lump it. That is exactly what happened to K S Srinivasa Iyengar of RT Nagar in Bengaluru. But he did not curse his fate, the railways, and the government and swallow whatever he had gone through. Iyengar approached the Bangalore Urban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, and demanded that the railways compensate for whatever he had to suffer. It all started in the summer of this year. On May 24, 2014, Iyengar purchased confirmed sleeper coach tickets for himself, his brother and his wife for their journey which started from Chennai and wended through Bhubaneshwar, Puri, Gaya, Allahabad, Itarsi, Nagpur and back to Bengaluru. Despite their tickets being reserved throughout their journey, Iyengar and his family encountered serious problems in the middle of his trip from Gaya to Allahabad, Allahabad to Itarsi and Itarsi to Nagpur. Strangers would occupy the seats and refuse to vacate despite protests from Iyengar and his family. The family was forced to travel three nights sitting in crowded compartments. Throughout their journey, the Iyengars did not come across a single ticket examiner to who they could complain. TTEs are mandatorily present on every train to examine the tickets and ensure seats for passengers who have tickets with confirmed reservation. Adding to their woes, while entering a compartment, in the melee, Iyengar lost his slippers, a few books he purchased at Gaya. His shirt got torn as some passengers tugged at it. So, Iyengar went to the consumers’ forum against South Western Railway for failing to provide the service they were mandated to. And the forum has now ordered SWR to pay Iyengar Rs.1,475 as the value of his lost slippers, books and damaged shirt. That of course, is in addition to Rs.20,000 as compensation for the hardship, inconvenience and mental agony suffered by the family despite having confirmed tickets. The Consumer Forum’s order significant. In every station, and on trains, you see boards advising passengers to take of their belongings, officiously declaring that the Railways won’t be responsible for any loss. But no longer. That pompous statement of shrugging off responsibility to take of passengers, their comfort and their belongings is the railways’ responsibility, the consumer forum order tells the railways in no uncertain terms. Take a bow, Srinivas Iyengar! You and your family deserve kudos for scoring a magnificent goal against the mighty railways and their none-of-my-business attitude!