Bengaluru Railway Division will introduce a fee of Rs.15 on all train tickets purchased from Shravanabelegola railway station from February 3 or 4. The Railway Board has given it the green signal to proceed with the move.
Top railway sources confirmed that a ‘surcharge cess’ would be levied to compensate the division for the massive infrastructure expenses incurred due to the upcoming festival. “The proposal was sent to the Railway Board last month and we have received clearance to go ahead with the levy of the fee,” a top railway official said. This would be applicable to offline or online bookings.
The Bengaluru Division has overhauled the existing infrastructure in this tiny ‘E’ category station to cater to lakhs of pilgrims expected to visit the town for Mahamastakabhisheka festival from February 7 to 25. The line connecting Nelamangala with Shravanabelegola was commissioned in March 2017, thereby ensuring easy rail access for the event for pilgrims.
“This is the first time the Division will impose such a cess on its passengers as it is the first time the Railways is chipping in a big way to ensure accessibility to the venue,” another official said. “We have gone by the Railway rule book. Whenever any mela of a grand scale takes place in the country, like the Kumbh Mela, the Division has the right to charge a fee for its services,” the official added.