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Railway tardy in paying damages

- Nearly 4500 cases of claims pending, some even 8 years old
The NF Railway Claims Tribunal office in Guwahati. Telegraph picture

Guwahati, March 13: If you are planning to move the claims tribunal of NF Railway seeking refund of the goods you had booked in a train and lost during transportation or seeking compensation after a train accident, chances are you may have to make rounds of the office for years.

Data available with the NF Railway Claims Tribunal here have shown that about 4,500 cases of claims concerning railway grievances are pending, some of which are as old as eight years.

Sources at the tribunal told The Telegraph that of the total claims cases registered with it till December 2011, 52 were pending for eight years while over 600 were pending for over five years.

Sources also said 285 cases were pending for five years, 311 were four years old, 357 cases for three years, 548 cases for two years, 1,154 cases pending for one year while the rest 1,520 were pending for less than one year.

The Railway Claims Tribunal near Guwahati station looks into the cases filed by passengers or people who move the tribunal after they have failed to get appropriate response from the claims settlement office of NF Railway relating to complaints seeking refund of their goods, either stolen or lost in transit.

“In case a person loses goods which he had booked for transportation from one place to another, he can first move the claims settlement office at Maligaon with necessary documents like booking papers. If the person is unhappy with the response of the claims settlement office or has complaints, the person can move the tribunal and register a goods compensation case,” a source at the tribunal said.

The source said 391 cases pertaining to railway accidents were pending and a total of 2,724 cases were pending relating to refund of goods lost during transportation.

“We have, however, found that many cases have remained pending for years because of failure to produce necessary documents, either by the petitioner or the railway authorities. In most cases, petitioners complain about functioning of the claims settlement office,” the source said.

According to railway norms, the railways have to provide compensation of Rs 50 per kg of goods lost while being transported by train.

Apart from goods compensation case, people can move the court in case of any grievances relating to compensation relating to death or injury because of any accidents on trains. They can also lodge complaints in case of overcharge of railway passenger fare or freight.

“In case of death in railway accidents, a passenger can claim Rs 4 lakh,” he said.