CHENNAI: In a special drive launched by Southern Railway against tout menace at reservation ticket counters and other areas, the vigilance department has arrested 15 persons recently.
The drive was initiated by the zonal railways, based on the repeated complaints from a section of rail passengers that they are unable to get confirmed Tatkal tickets at counters, while the travel agents are able to sell confirmed tickets for the same route.
The Chennai-Jodhpur, Chennai-Jaipur, Chennai-Guwahati and Chennai-Howrah sections have highest ticket demand throughout the year. Particularly, during April and May, it’s nearly impossible to get the confirmed tickets.
Rail passengers from Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu who always travel along with their family members prefer to travel only through trains. Taking advantage of the situation, travel agents price the tickets about Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 higher than actual fare.
The travel agents collect about Rs 2,000 to 2,300 a ticket additionally for trains in Chennai-Jaipur and Chennai-Howrah section during weekend and festival seasons. “Representatives from the unauthorised travel agents occupy the ticket counters during Tatkal hours. They get the confirmed tickets and sell to passengers at higher prices,” said a railway official.
The drive was conducted at several locations including Chennai Central, Egmore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tambaram and Katpadi stations for special trains and regular trains operated during summer reasons.
As soon as the bookings opened at 10 am for AC class and 11 am for the second class, the touts who occupy front rows get confirmed tickets, while the genuine passengers get unconfirmed tickets. The vigilance officials inquired with the passengers at ticket counters and found that many travel companies hire people for Rs 100 to Rs 200 for booking the Tatkal tickets standing in front of the counter for long hours. The 15 touts were handed over to the RPF and produced before the magistrate.
In addition to this, 72 unauthorised vendors in trains and stations were also apprehended and booked under section 144(1) of Railways Act by RPF.
Trains too checked
During the drive, 156 trains were also checked and 1672 cases of ticketless travel, 1076 cases of irregular travel and 48 cases of impersonation were detected and about Rs 16.24 lakh was collected as penalty, said a press statement