The Ranchi district consumer forum has issued notices to a Gurgaon-based travel agency and its associates in Jammu for “adopting unfair trade practices”.
The notices were sent on Wednesday after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) finance manager Suvendu Narayan Bhatta, a resident of Court Road, Ranchi.
The forum has asked all parties concerned to be present for a hearing on October 21.
Bhatta’s lawyer Arvind Kumar Lall told The Telegraph on Thursday that his client was forced to approach the consumer forum after facing harassment and inconvenience during a bus trip from Jammu to Delhi.
The senior CCL official had gone to Srinagar to participate in a veteran table tennis championship from April 16 to 20 with four friends. “He had booked a return bus ticket from Jammu to Delhi for April 22 online through the travel agency. An amount of Rs 4,000 was paid through net banking,” Lall said.
Bhatta was given tickets for a Volvo bus, run by a private operator, whose registration number was stated as JK-20 1406. Its scheduled departure from Jammu was at 9pm.
On April 22, when Bhatta started from Srinagar, he was informed midway by the agency that he would have to board the bus from Katra, another 50km from Jammu, due to some unavoidable circumstances. They were charged an additional Rs 200 for each seat.
When they reached Guru Nanak Parking at Katra to catch the bus, they were in for a shock. Instead of the Volvo bus, they were asked to board a deluxe bus (registration number UP-22T 5352), belonging to a local travel agent.
When Bhatta enquired, he was told that the Volvo bus would not ply on that day due to some technical snag. Helpless, the group from Ranchi proceeded for their destination.
But another shock was in store for them when the bus made a brief halt at Jammu. Bhatta and his friends could not believe their eyes. The Volvo bus, in which they had originally booked their tickets, was departing for Delhi with another set of passengers.
“When they tried to board the Volvo, they were not allowed in. The travel agents present at the spot also misbehaved with them,” Lall added.
However, Bhatta took photographs and video of both buses on his mobile phone.
The CCL official said: “Now the forum will ensure justice to me.”
Mohan Ji, an official of the agency in whose bus Bhatta had to travel, claimed both buses had similar facilities.
“Passengers were not ill-treated,” he said.