Indian Railways is all set to launch an alternative train accommodation scheme ‘Vikalp’ from April 1. Under this scheme, the wait-listed passengers will get an option of selecting alternative train on the same route. Tested for six months in six sectors, Vikalp will be available in the e-ticket format booking initially. The rollout of ‘Vikalp Scheme’ is expected to be announced by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday. Apart from providing an alternative accommodation, Railways is also looking to ensure optimum utilisation of available accommodation through this scheme. Last year, in November, it was launched as the pilot project for six months on the Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi- Jammu sectors. Vikalp aims to beat the festive rush when availability of berths does not match the surging demand.
Here is all you need to know about Vikalp:
- Passengers have been offered the flexibility to cancel tickets, if they don’t like the alternative being offered but cancellation would be treated as the cancellation of a fully confirmed ticket.
- Vikalp follows few of the existing refund rules, like no refund is allowed after the chart is prepared. Also, heavy cuts will be levied as cancellation fee from fully confirmed tickets.
- If one opts for Vikalp, while getting a waitlisted ticket in an ordinary/express train, chances are that one might get accommodation on Rajdhani or Shatabadi Express with no extra charges.
- 50 per cent will be levied as cancellation charge on the cancellation of tickets between 12 and four hours prior to departure.
- Chances of cancelling an alternative option will be less, as you will be given a list of options beforehand to select from, saving you from the much hassle.
- Nation-wide the availability of the berths in trains is just 12 per cent and around 46 crore berths are in circulations collectively from every sector.
- Fully Waiting list passengers, who opted for Vikalp should check their PNR after charting.
- No extra charges shall be levied from passengers nor any refund will be provided for the difference of fare.
Annually, an estimated of Rs 3,500 cr is given out as refund for services that are not rendered. With Vikalp scheme in place, the chances of cancellation will be slim because of an alternative option, giving railways a financial boost. With this scheme, the volume of Vikalp seekers and demand of a particular train will also be known, helping railways to serve their passengers better.