Centre will give one time reimbursement/rescheduling charges paid by those employees who were made to pay cancellation charges for air/train tickets.

In a major relief for central government employees who had booked air tickets during the lockdown and had to subsequently cancel the same, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has decided to give one-time reimbursement/rescheduling charges paid by them. The move came as central government employees who had booked LTC tickets in advance but had to cancel them due to the lockdown had to pay high cancellation charges imposed by the airlines.

After receiving several requests on the matter, the DoPT released an office memorandum (OM) regarding the 7th Pay Commission-linked LTC allowance.

“During the months of March – May, 2020, a Nation-wide Lockdown was implemented across the country in view of the prevailing Covid-19 epidemic. During this period, all domestic flights within India were cancelled but certain airlines have charged the cancellation charges against the pre-booked air tickets. In such a situation, many Government employees who had booked LTC tickets in advance for that period are facing financial difficulties in view of the high cancellation amount charged by the airlines. In this regard, requests are being received in this Department for grant of one-time relaxation for reimbursement of the cancellation charges,” read the DoPT OM.

It further said that several airlines have still not refunded the amount for the tickets booked in advance for the LTC journey scheduled during the lockdown period. Instead, that amount has been kept by many airline carriers in the form of ‘credit shell’ and the passengers have been given the option to travel within a year.

“This is causing undue hardships to the Government employees as the LTC advance along with penal interest, is required to be returned if the journey is not undertaken. Requests have been received in this regard for extension of time-limit for settlement of LTC advance and exemption of penal interest till such date the journey is performed by them,” it added.

The DoPT OM said that matter has been considered in consultation with Department of Expenditure, and the following decisions are conveyed:

  • Ministries/Departments are delegated the power to reimburse the cancellation/ reschedule charges of air/train tickets, as a one-time relaxation, to such Government servants who had booked advance air/train tickets for the purpose of LTC journey during the Lockdown period from 24th March, 2020 to 31st May, 2020 but were not able to perform the journey due to cancellation/rescheduling of flights/trains during that period. Such government servants seeking (Satish Kumar) Under Secretary to the Government of India reimbursement of cancellation! reschedule charges shall be required to produce the receipt of cancellation/reschedule charges incurred by them.
  • In cases where the airlines have kept the refund amount in ‘Credit Shell’, Ministries /Departments may extend the period of repayment of LTC advance taken by the Government servant for LTC journey scheduled during the lockdown period(March-May, 2020), till 28.02.202 1 or till such time the amount in ‘Credit Shell’ is utilised by the Government servant to perform LTC journey, whichever is earlier. Also, penal interest may not be charged on LTC advance amount taken by the Government servant on LTC journey scheduled during the lockdown period.
  • In cases where the Government servants have drawn LTC advance as well as leave encashment so as to perform the LTC journey, but could not perform journey during the lockdown period and now intend to opt for Special Cash Package Scheme in lieu of LTC in accordance with Department of Expenditure’s OM No. 12(2)/2020-E.II(A) dated 12.10.2020, they are also allowed to avail the facility of the Scheme. The LTC advance and leave encashment which have remained unsettled due to non-performance of the journey, may be adjusted as per the provisions of the Special Cash Package Scheme.