Published On: Wed, Sep 6th, 2017

Why Tenzing Norgay awardees not getting rail concession: CIC

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the Railway Board to explain the “differential treatment” meted out to recipients of Tenzing Norgay Adventure Awards and Arjuna Awards with regard to train travel concessions.

Tenzing Norgay Adventure awardee, noted mountaineer Anand Swaroop

Tenzing Norgay Adventure awardee, noted mountaineer Anand Swaroop

Noted mountaineer Anand Swaroop, a Tenzing Norgay Adventure awardee, approached the commission after he failed to get a satisfactory response from the Union sports ministry on whether the Tenzing Norgay Award for Excellency in Adventure was officially considered at par with the Arjuna Award.

He reasoned that although the monetary reward in both the awards was Rs 5 lakh, the free railway pass facility was not available to Tenzing Norgay Award recipients.

After going through the submissions by the ministry, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acahryulu noted that the ministry wanted the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award to be equivalent, in all its terms and benefits, with the Arjuna Award.

The ministry had said that the Arjuna Award had been conferred to mountaineers and adventure sports persons up to 1986 who also received travel concessions from the railway ministry as Arjuna awardees.

“Later, from 1994, the National Adventure Award was started in the field of adventure, thus parting away from Arjuna Award. This award was renamed as Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2002-03 as per the available record in the citation book,” the sports ministry told the commission.

It said from 1994 onwards, the railway concessions to the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure awardees were not being extended by the Ministry of Railways as they were not being called Arjuna awardees.

It said the sports ministry had written several times to the railway ministry for expansion of the facilities to Tenzing Norgay National Adventure awardees, which has not been acceded by the Ministry of Railways on the ground of financial implications. The latest letter was sent in February, 2017.

“The RTI request and second appeal of the applicant reflect a genuine complaint against differential treatment, which is definitely violative of Article 14 of the constitution,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu pointed out.

The commission recommended the Minister for Railways and Chairman of Railway Board to consider the complaint.

“The commission considers that it is the duty of the Railway Board to explain its policy and the reasons (if any) that permitted differential treatment between awardees of Tenzing Norgay and Arjuna awards,” Acharyulu said.

He also directed the CPIO of Minister for Railways and CPIO of Office of Chairman of Railway Board to submit an action taken report in response to an office memorandum dated February 28, 2017 issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and sent to the Chairman, Railway Board.

PTI

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