The Union Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu on 22 March 2017 announced the scaling up of VIKALP Scheme for waitlisted passengers at a progrmme held in New Delhi.
Besides, the minister released the Water Management Policy of Indian Railways to mark the World Water Day and also presented GreenCo Certificates to three units of Indian Railways.
While the Water Policy covers all aspects of water use, recycling, conservation and recharge of groundwater, the certificates were presented to Diesel Locomotive Works (Varanasi), Perambur Carriage Works (Chennai) and Lalaguda Carriage Workshop (Hyderabad).
Railway Board Chairman A K Mital, members and senior officials were also present on the occasion.
Expanded VIKALP Scheme
• From 1 April 2017, the Vikalp scheme will be further expanded to shift waitlisted passengers of one train across all categories of trains without realization of any difference of fare or grant of refund.
• Thus, a passenger who booked a ticket in a normal mail or express train can be shifted to an alternate mail, express, rajdhani, humsafar, duronto, shatabdi, special train or suvidha train in the same class of accommodation or vice versa subject to opting for this scheme.
• The rationale behind allowing this facility is that the reserved accommodation is a perishable commodity and once a train leaves a platform with a vacant berth, the potential revenue is lost to railways.
• The expanded VIKALP is expected to optimize berth utilization across all trains, carry more passengers as well as increase earnings by reducing refunds of waitlisted tickets.
• Initially, the expanded “Vikalp” scheme will be available on e-tickets and will be extended to PRS tickets at a later stage.
About VIKALP Scheme
• Indian Railways on 1 November 2015 launched the Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme (ATAS) or VIKALP to provide confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers in alternate trains on a pilot basis.
• It is a transparent scheme as confirmed reservation tickets will be provided in alternate trains without giving extra fare.
• However, when an ATAS opted passenger opts to cancel, after he/she has been given an alternate accommodation, he/she will be treated as a ‘Confirmed Passenger’ and the cancellation rules will apply accordingly.