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Flight tickets booked before & during lockdown refundable, states Supreme Court



Domestic airlines will be obliged to offer full refunds on airfares booked on domestic and foreign routes before lockdown for travel up to May 24. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told the Supreme Court that passengers who booked flight tickets during the Covid-19 lockdown are entitled to an immediate refund.

The affidavit arrived on the eve of a planned hearing before the top court on a bunch of PILs where it is presumed that the Centre’s refund scheme for flights cancelled during lockdown will be taken up for consideration.

In the affidavit the DGCA clarified the refund would be initiated on three different categories:

The first category is of those who booked their air tickets before the lockdown, i.e. May 24, they will be proposed with credit shell and incentive scheme.

In the second category, travellers who have booked flights after the lockdown would be entitled to full reimbursement of their flights from the relevant airlines, since those flights were not secured by the latter.

The third group includes people who have booked tickets at any time except for travel after May 24, to whom refunds would be subject to the requirements of the CAR (Civil Aviation Requirement)

In this new formulation, if the airlines are not in a financial condition to repay within 15 days, a credit shell will be created on behalf of the customer that it will use on either route on or before March 31, 2021, while flying next with the carrier. This credit shell will be transferable and, if the money is left idle in the credit shell, travellers will be entitled to 0.5% interest from the withdrawal date until June 30 and 0.75% interest until March 31, 2021, after that. Until March 31, 2021, the carrier will be responsible for returning the loan shell balance with interest to the passenger.

If the ticket was booked by a tour operator, an agent or an OTT, the money would be refunded to the same operator.

The fare would, nevertheless, remain in the passenger’s name and if he uses the credit shell, he will pay the agent.

A petition submitted by a non-profit group, Pravasi Legal Cell, by advocate Jose Abraham was heard by the court in April.

The NGO argued that passengers had no intention of using the credit shell within the stated time and could instead expect a full refund.

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Turning trash into treasure: Nepal plans turning Mount Everest garbage into art pieces



23 January: Setting an example for the whole world, Nepal announced its plan to convert the trash collected from Mount Everest to develop art pieces. These art pieces will be put in a gallery and will educate the world about the need to keep Everest clean and saving it from becoming a dumping site.

Nepal formed teams of people who collected tonnes of garbage from the mountain side, mostly consisted of plastic bottles, ladders, torn tents, cans oxygen bottles, and wrappers. The trekkers and climbers at the mountain leave behind a huge mess at the top and the adjoining areas. Trash has been collected from the peak which is 8848.86 m which is 29032 ft.

The director of the project Tommy Gustafsson alongside the co-founder of the Sagarmatha Next Centre quoted that local and foreign artists will be involved in making this art project a success by creating artwork from the collected wastage. The products made from this trash will be sold as souvenirs and the money collected from them will be used in conservation purposes.

Also read: Manipur on War Tourism map; government plans to build tourism site at Koirengei

While informing media about the plan, Gustafsson quoted, “We want to showcase how you can transform solid waste into precious pieces of art and generate employment and income. We hope to change people’s perceptions about garbage and manage it.”

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Kevadiya railway station becomes India’s first with green building certification



22 January: Located in Gujarat, Kevadiya railway station has become India’s first railway station with a green building certification. For being India’s first Green Building certified station, it is also registered with the Indian Green Building Council.

The key features of the station paved the way for the city’s public transport spot to build the record. Various installations have been made in the station in order to conserve electricity like LED lights and other branded electrical appliances.

A tribal art gallery is introduced on Kevadiya railway station to attract more passengers. A viewing gallery is also made to enable the visitors to view the Statue of Unity from level three of the station. For water management, several facilities have been installed like rainwater harvesting, eco-waterless urinals, drip irrigation and sewage treatment plant.

Also read: IndiGo launches daily flights between Delhi and Leh starting Feb 22

The station area also has facilities laid for vehicle parking, food courts, landscaping, and others as well like wide traffic way, horticulture plants, thematic park with selfie zone and children play zone.

The country is preparing to facilitate the travel and tourism opportunities for the tourist, these developments are a part of it. Previously, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also flagged off 8 trains in order to ease travel to Statue of Unity from various other regions of the country. With these developments, the access and travel to the world-famous Statue of Unity in India have become easier and sorted as now people can travel directly to Kevadiya through these trains.

For more information on which trains will carry you to Gujarat’s Statue of Unity, read our report:

8 new trains connect to Kevadiya; improves connectivity with Statue of Unity

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IRCTC offers free air fare to passengers booking for Golden Chariot



22 January: In a surprising offer reportedly, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is offering free air tickets for the passengers who are opting for luxury tourist packages in the Golden Chariot which is a luxury train. This offer can be availed by anyone.

The Tourism and Marketing spokesperson of the IRCTC, Shubham Arya said that they will offer flexibility in booking the ticket dates and that will be according to the demand of the passenger only.

Adding that the train bookings can be done 2 to 3 days in advance, he said that the passengers can also book the tickets 2-3 days after the Golden Chariot tour is completed. He also informed that free airfare will be between Chandigarh-Bengaluru-Chandigarh.

Also read: 8 new trains connect to Kevadiya; improves connectivity with Statue of Unity

Divulging the details of this offer, IRCTC Regional manager MPS Raghav mentioned that this offer is valid for the domestic air travel to and from Bengaluru and Chandigarh and for those who are booking tickets for the luxury train Golden Chariot.

Further, he also added that the Indian railway has introduced 2 itineraries that are first, departing from Bengaluru and covering locations such as Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Goa and then returning to the starting point. Any citizen going fo the higher package of the 2 itineraries would be given free tickets of the train.

These luxury tour packages to South India will provide an opportunity for travellers to understand the cultures and royalty of the Indian region, South India.

The luxury Golden Chariot train will provide the best of the state-of-the-art amenities to the passengers on board. From smart TVs installations, to clean bathrooms, from fire alarm systems to CCTVs for security, the train is keeping all amenities on top priority to bestow the best travel experience of the passengers.

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