Railway Ministry denies reports on hockey players’ travails, says they didn’t travel on train floor

In a note to Firstpost, the Ministry of Railways has refuted the reports of four Indian women's hockey team players being asked to sit on the floor of a train. The Railways has also tweeted out a three-part clarification of the events as they transpired.

"The news reports about women's hockey team, after their return from Rio Olympics, were forced to sit on the floor while they were travelling from Ranchi to Rourkela via Bokaro-Allepey Express train, is completely false. Also the information that the TTE asked them to sit on the floor of the bogey of the train is untrue," said a press note released by the Ministry of Railways.

"On checking up, it was found out that the hockey players, on reaching the Ranchi airport, went to the station and took the train without any information to the Indian Railways, who would be in a better position to make appropriate arrangements for the players. However, when the players boarded the train with unconfirmed tickets, the TTE took only 20 minutes to make seats available to them," the clarification added.

"The hockey players hold no grudge against the Indian Railways and the same was communicated by them to the Indian Railways authorities. They also said that the players were in a hurry to meet their family members and hence pre-poned the plan which led to the confusion," it added.

Times Now had reported that the four players — Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Sunita Lakra and Lilima Minz, all from Odisha — had to sit on the floor of the train after they had boarded the Dhanbad-Allepey Express. According to Lakra, it took around an hour for the TTE to find seats for the athletes.

"We asked the TTE to allot berths to us but he denied. After travelling for about an hour, we got seats," Sunita Lakra told the Deccan Chronicle on Sunday.

CNNNews18, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle all reported that the players had to sit on the floor of the bogey after not being provided seats. The main contention is based on the players being Olympians as well as Railway employees and yet not being provided with seats on the train, in a timely manner.

Updated Date: Aug 30, 2016 09:23:02 IST