Chennai: A city consumer forum has directed Southern Railway to pay a compensation of Rs 27,350 to a passenger whose suitcase was damaged by a rodent. The incident took place when he travelled in an AC 2 tier compartment in an express train from Alleppy to Chennai three years ago. In the petition, P. Devadas of Kolathur submitted that he booked 3 tickets for travel from Alleppey to Chennai in ‘Chennai Express’ in AC 2 tier compartment on April 12, 2014. They travelled in the super fast express train along with their luggage and the train reached Chennai Central railway station on the next day.
On reaching the destination, Devadas found his Samsonite suitcase was cut open in the bottom for almost 6 inches by rats during the travel. “I purchased the suitcase for Rs 12,600 only recently. And, due to lack of maintenance of the compartments the rats caused damages to the suitcase”, he said. Devadas said, “When I explained the matter to the station master, Chennai Central railway station, he advised me to send a complaint to claim Department along with photos of the damaged suitcase”.
Accordingly, he sent the complaint on April 14, 2014, and again he sent another complaint through email to Additional Divisional Railway Manager (Public Grievances), Southern Railway, who replied stating that “the official in charge of pest control had been advised to monitor the coaches to control the rat menace and inconvenience caused deeply regretted”.
In its reply, the Southern Railway denied the deficiency in service. The authorities stated that they properly maintain the coaches. His suitcase might have been damaged due to other causes like handling and manufacturing defect. The petitioner wrongly assumed that the suitcase was damaged due to rat bite. Hence, authorities sought for dismissal of the petition. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (North) bench comprising president K. Jayabalan and member M. Uyirroli Kannan said the Southern Railway had nowhere stated that when they lastly carried out pest control maintenance in the coaches. The pest control should have been periodically done to curb the rat menace. The Southern Railway committed negligence in service. Holding the Southern Railway for responsible for damage of the suitcase, the bench directed the authorities to pay compensation Rs 27,350, including the cost of the suitcase Rs 12,350, for the unfair trade practice....