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Railways take on airlines by offering discounted fares

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New Delhi, Oct 31: In a bid to take on airlines, the Indian Railways plan to lure more passengers by revoking the flexi-fare scheme in some trains and offering discounts in others.

The move comes just at the start of the festive season, when the airlines’ load factor is packed due to discount schemes.

The railways plan to give graded discounts in fares for all classes of current flexi-fare trains, four days prior to the scheduled date of the train starting from the originating station. Flexi fares increase the price of tickets as occupancy increases.

The railways would give a discount of up to 20 per cent in the fares of premium trains with occupancy of 70 per cent, while a discount of up to 10 per cent will be given in the trains which have a booking rate of 70-80 per cent.

However, there will be no discount on the fares of the premium trains which have an occupancy rate of more than 80 per cent.

According to a Railway Ministry senior official, the scheme has been discontinued in 15 trains, where the average uni-directional monthly occupancy was less than 50 per cent throughout the year.

“The decision would increase occupancy by over 15 per cent due to lower fares,” the official, who declined to be named, told IANS on Wednesday.

The official said that the railways had decided to discontinue the flexi-fare in a pre-defined lean period of three months in 32 trains with uni-directional monthly occupancy between 50-75 per cent throughout the last fiscal.

The decision assumes significance as it will enable the railways to lure more passengers that it had lost to other means of transport, especially the aviation sector.

In addition, the flexi-fare scheme will continue in over 100 trains in which uni-directional monthly occupancy is more than 75 per cent throughout the year.

The official also said that the changes shall be made on an experimental basis for six months. “Decision to continue it will be taken after accessing its outcome,” the official added.

On September 9, 2016, the railways had introduced flexi-fare for premier trains: 44 Rajdhanis, 52 Durontos and 46 Shatabdi Express trains.

Under this, the base fare increases by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fare for first AC and economy class.

But on December 19, the Railways started providing 10 per cent rebate on any seat left vacant after the preparation of the passenger chart.

IANS

India

Farmers Call Bharat Bandh On December 8

Thousands of farmers continue protests at the national capital’s border points on Friday amid heavy police deployment.

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Farmers on Protest

Hardening their position ahead of the fifth round of talks with the government, agitating farmers on Friday announced a ”Bharat Bandh” on December 8 and said they would occupy toll plazas on that day.

Addressing a press conference, farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said if the Centre does not accept their demands during Saturday’s talks, they will intensify their agitation against the new farm laws.

“In our meeting today, we have decided to give a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call on December 8 during which we will also occupy all toll plazas,” said Harvinder Singh Lakhwal, another farmer leader.

“We have planned to block all roads leading to Delhi in the coming days if new farm laws are not scrapped,” he also said.

Delhi’s border points remained choked as thousands of farmers from Haryana, Punjab, and other states held demonstrations for the ninth consecutive day, after talks with the government failed to yield any resolution on Thursday.

The farmer community has expressed apprehension that the new laws are “anti-farmer”, and would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

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Kangana Ranaut reacts to legal notices against her

She had retweeted the post with pictures of two elderly women, including Bilkis Bano, and wrote that the “same Dadi” who featured in Time Magazine was “available in 100 rupees”.

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Kangana Ranaut

Mumbai: Actress Kangana Ranaut on Friday reacted to legal notices piling up against her.

“Film mafia filed many cases on me, last night Javed Akhtar filed one more, Maharashtra government filing one case every hour now congress in Punjab is also joined the gang…. Lagta hai mujhe mahan banake he dum lenge (I think they will take a break only after making me great.) Thank you,” Kangana Ranaut tweeted from her verified account on Friday reacting to a news piece talking about the legal notice.

Earlier on Friday, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee sent a legal notice to Kangana, seeking an “unconditional apology” for her “derogatory” tweets against farmers and activists involved in the farmers protest against the Centre’s three Farm Laws, the committee’s president.

“We have sent a legal notice to Kangana Ranaut for her derogatory tweet calling the aged mother of a farmer as a woman available for Rs 100. Her tweets portray farmers protest as anti-national. We demand an unconditional apology from her for her insensitive remarks on farmers protest,” Manjinder Singh Sirsa, President of DSGMC tweeted.

The notice comes in the wake of a tweet from the actress alleging that the ‘Shaheen Bagh dadi’ also joined the farmers’ agitation over the new agri laws at various border points of the National Capital Region.

She had retweeted the post with pictures of two elderly women, including Bilkis Bano, and wrote that the “same Dadi” who featured in Time Magazine was “available in 100 rupees”.

On Thursday a petition had been filed in Bombay High Court against Kangana. The petitioner seeks the suspension of the verified Twitter account of the actress for allegedly spreading hatred and disharmony.

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India

Dalai Lama congratulates Maha teacher who won global prize

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Dalai Lama

Dharamsala, Dec 4 : Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Friday congratulated Ranjitsinh Disale, a primary school teacher in Maharashtra, on winning this year’s Global Teacher Prize, saying educating the young children, especially the poor, is perhaps the best way to help them as individuals.

“I would like to congratulate you,” His Holiness wrote, “on being named the world’s most exceptional teacher and to express my admiration for your generosity in sharing half the prize money with runners-up in the competition”.

“Educating young children, especially from poor and needy backgrounds is perhaps the best way to help them as individuals, and actively contributes to creating a better world.

“Your work to ensure that disadvantaged girls go to school, as well as your efforts to prepare study materials for them in their own language, the online science lessons you offer pupils in 83 countries and your project building connections between young people in conflict zones are all vivid examples of compassion in action.

“When you say, ‘Together we can make a difference — we can make this world a better place’, you are absolutely right. I am sure your exemplary service will encourage other brothers and sisters to follow in your footsteps.”

The spiritual leader ended his letter with an offering of prayers and good wishes.

The 31-year-old Ranjitsingh Disale declared that he will split half of the prize money of $1 million with his top 10 fellow finalists.

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