Eastern Railway has topped among 16 Railway Zones in the country in issuing largest number of 'Izzat' passes during the last three years, under a scheme allowing a person living below poverty line having an income of less than Rs 1,500 to travel by train up to 100 kms daily at a monthly cost of Rs 25.
The Eastern Railway, comprising four divisions of Malda, Howrah, Sealdah and Asansol issued passes to the tune of 58,74,005 after the scheme was announced by then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and was introduced with effect from September 2009. Pursuant to an RTI query by city consumer actist Avinash Prabhune, it was known that the Southern Railway, with its headquarters in Chennai (having Chennai, Madurai, Palakkad, Tiruchirappali, Thiruvananthpuram and Salem divisions) stands second on the list having issued 22,18,282 Izzat monthly season tickets (MST) in three years.
The South Eastern Railway was third among the Railway network with 15,43,030 Izzat passes issued during the period. Both the Zonal Railways have their headquarters in Kolkata with Kharagpur, Chakradharpur, Adra and Ranchi
divisions. According to Indian Railways the value of concession for the year 2011-12 is approximately Rs 115 crores. The RTI query also revealed that this scheme was not implemented by Zonal Railways expeditiously. Although the Railway Board had issued letters in December 2009 to all Zonal Railways directing to provide data in this regard before 10th of every month, it appears that the Railway Board has not taken corrective action for uniform implementation of Izzat scheme across the India, it said.
The Central Railway ranked at number 14 in Izzat passes and has issued only 7,598 passes in 32 months (at an average of 245 passes per month) whereas Eastern Railway topped the list by issuing 58,74,005 passes (at an average of 1,89,484 passes per month). The North Western railway at number 16 issued only 1165 passes (at an average of 38 passes per month).