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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: In a significant move that will cheer up devotees and tourists who visit Puri to witness the Rath Yatra, the annual car festival of Lord Jagannath every year, the Railways has discontinued charging ‘Mela Surcharge’ on passengers during major fairs in the country like the Rath Yatra and Kumbh Mela.

Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal today took to twitter saying that devotees and tourists who travel to Odisha on occasion of Rath Yatra will have more reason to be happy because of the discontinuance of the surcharge from this year which will make travelling more affordable.

As per media reports, like every year, the East Coast Railway had collected around Rs 30 lakh as surcharge from passengers between July 13 and July 24 during the last Rath Yatra this year.

The surcharge used to be levied on tickets costing more than Rs 15. While the second class and sleeper class tickets booked in ordinary and mail express trains were charged Rs 5 and Rs 20 respectively, AC Chair Car and AC-3 tier tickets were levied Rs 40 and AC-2 tier and AC first class tickets were charged Rs 60 and Rs 80 respectively, sources said.

Mela Surcharge is an extra tax charged by the Railways to manage additional cost incurred by the national transporter for providing certain facilities such as running of special trains, additional booking counters, pilgrim sheds.

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