The Railways on Wednesday clarified that there has been no change in the rule concerning booking of tickets for children travelling by train after news reports claimed that those in the age group of one to four years are now being charged adult fares.
A circular dated March 6, 2020 of the Ministry of Railways states that children under five years of age shall travel for free. However, it said that in that case, a separate berth or seat (in chair car) shall not be provided.
Passengers can, however, purchase tickets if they require berths/seats for their children who are below the age of 5 years. In that case, the full adult fare will be charged.
"There have been some recent media reports that claim that Indian Railways has changed the rule with regards to booking of tickets for children travelling in the train. These reports claim that now children between the age of one to four years will have to get a ticket for travelling on the train.
"These news items and media reports are misleading. It is informed that Indian Railways has not introduced any changes with regards to booking of tickets for children travelling in the train.
"'On the demand of the passengers, an option has been given to them to buy a ticket and book a berth for their under 5-year-old child if they want. And if they don't want a separate berth, then it is free, same like it used to be earlier," the statement from Railways said.
Earlier, the news reports had led to angry reactions from a section.
"We should thank the BJP government, which is now charging one-year-old children for travelling in trains, that they are not charging pregnant women for an extra ticket.
"The Railways is no longer for the poor. Now people will cut full ticket of BJP," Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet.