A Traveling Ticket Examiner (TTE) on duty in the Gujarat Queen Express train collected Rs.20 each from passengers after Goods and Service Tax (GST) rollout, was removed from the services for wrong interpretation of the GST and for wrongful collection of money from the passengers.
The railway department has taken the matter seriously and ordered further investigation.
Livid passengers created a scene as they refused to pay the extra fee that was reportedly levied in lieu of the GST.
In a video depicting chaos that went viral online, the TTE of Queen Express was seen asking passengers to pay an additional fare of Rs. 20 per ticket on account of instructions given to him by government officials to do so, citing the GST to be the reason for the same.
Passengers were seen arguing that the charge must be levied on tickets booked after July 1, and not on those booked before the roll out of the new tax regime, and refused to pay the additional fee. Passengers also demanded to see an official circular from the Centre. The video also shows the passengers arguing that GST is not applicable to them because they all bought their tickets before July 1, when the new tax was rolled out.
The video, which is going viral on social media, is about 1 minute and 38 seconds long. It shows the TTE without his badge asking people seated in the train Rs 20 each on account of the just-implemented GST.
The people are then seen trying to reason with him that the new tax regime does not apply to them because not only did they buy their tickets before GST came into effect, but also that if GST was indeed applicable to them, it would be reflected at the time of buying of tickets.
With the TTE unmoved, the passengers are then heard asking him for a circular to confirm that he was indeed entitled to charge them Rs 20 each.
Instead, the TTE took out some sort of receipt book and shows one of the passengers. He also refused to acknowledge newspaper reports when someone attempted to show a regional Hindi-language daily to him.
The incident has led to quite some outrage on social media, with people calling the attention of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu towards it.
It remains to be seen whether Prabhu, who is usually prompt at replying to queries on social media and initiating action, takes cognisance of this incidence, and if he does, what kind of action he initiates.