If you want to make a trip from Balangir to Bhubaneswar in Odisha, you should be aware of the irresponsibility of Raj Travels, which provides bus services from Balangir to Bhubaneswar and onwards. Recently a correspondent of a leading newspaper of Odisha became victim to the ticket fraud caused by the bus management.
Playing foul is a regular feature of the bus service providing companies especially in Odisha. Everybody knows it well. But in many cases the commuters bear it and then forget it. In some cases they complain but in vain.
In private express buses in Odisha, the problem of issuing the same seat to two different travelers is a commonly felt mishap, but the bus authorities are never concerned about it, though the travelers are embarrassed and harassed. And the unwritten rule to solve this problem is that, the person, who is more closer to the bus staff or the mightier person in lieu of power, political achievement or known Gunda, gets chance to travel on that seat out of the two, while the other party becomes the victim, though he is a genuine customer, who had booked the ticket properly with full payment. In fact the victim bears the embarrassment for no fault of him.
Recently a news correspondent had booked 3 tickets to travel on 1st June 2013 with Raj Travels. He booked the tickets by paying the total amount of Rs 1200 for booking 3 numbers of AC Sleeper seats at the Durga Mandap Ticket Booking counter of Balangir well in advance on 25th November 2013. The staff from Raj Travels issued him a ticket for 1st June. The dates and seat numbers were clearly mentioned on the ticket.
However, when on 1st June the traveler reported at the bus stop one hour before its departure time along with his wife, sister and 1.4 year old infant son, the person who had issued the ticket, informed that the same seats have been issued to some other passengers as wrongfully they thought that the tickets were booked for 5th June. Point to be noted that, in the ticket the same person had written the date of journey as 1st June and the traveler never mentioned anything about even a probability of his journey on 5th.
The Raj Travels staff then pushed them to travel in a local bus for 8 kms and then transferred them to a Non AC Sleeper Coach bus (Premier Coach) and the travelers had no other way left but just to accept the altered arrangement. Note that, he had booked an AC ticket but traveled in Non AC. So far the bus authorities have not refunded any money towards the difference in ticket cost.
Talking to TNI, the victim traveler said, ‘I faced big trouble travelling with the altered arrangement. Again, on that day I was travelling with my wife, sister and 1.4 year son for whom the trip was disastrous. They are not prone to Non AC and they had to travel without AC. As a result, my son became ill and now he is under medical treatment.”
“Because the widows adjacent to the sleeper seats in this type of buses are big we had to keep it closed, otherwise my kid would have been fallen from the running bus. But once you close the window you have to feel the music of 46 degree centigrade heat that was prevalent in western Odisha then.” He also added.
It’s high time the Commerce & Transport Ministry of Odisha look into such issues to take appropriate action against the irresponsibility of the bus authorities.