The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has swung into action recently by slamming the brakes forcefully on the free run of touts at all the major ticketing counters in Bangalore city. This year, special emphasis has been given by the authorities to end the menace of touting that has been flourishing for many years in the city. In this regard, an exclusive special team comprising of RPF personnel from Bangalore division was formed early this year. Besides, the authorities also claim that they are working hard to break the nexus between the touts and some officials from the Railways.
This year alone, 775 raids were conducted at Passenger Reservation System (PRS) centres located all over Bangalore division by the RPF personnel of South Western Railway (SWR) division and a total number of 197 unauthorized persons were arrested from these centres.
The Post/Out Post of RPF and CIB (Crime Intelligence Bureau) team of RPF conducted regular raids at PRS centres located over Bangalore division. In addition to these raids, the above special team also conducted regular and random raids at PRS centres.
Out of 197 persons arrested this year, 87 persons have been booked under section 143 of Railways Act for carrying on unauthorised business of procuring and supply of railway tickets and 110 persons under section 145 of Railways Act for creating nuisance. A fine amount of Rs 3,92,000 was imposed on these touts by the courts. During the above raids, Railway reservation tickets worth Rs 68,899/- and cash of Rs 1,24,880/- was seized from the touts.
At a recently conducted raid on May 28 at Devanahalli, the special team apprehended three touts who were indulging in touting activities. B Sridhar aged 35 years was arrested from Devanahalli and nine Tatkal Railway reserved ticket valued Rs 22,475 was seized from him. The second arrest was of Narasimha Rao, aged 63 years and two Tatkal Railway reserved ticket valued Rs 4,000 was recovered. Finally, Shankar, aged 36 years was arrested and two Tatkal Railway reserved ticket valued Rs 2,830 and a cash of Rs 4,000, including one filled Tatkal form was seized. Another tout was arrested on June 2 from Banashankari PRS who was produced in the court as well.
Speaking to City Express, S Louis Amuthan, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of RPF from Bangalore Division (SBC), South Western Railway (SWR) said, “Our teams have been continuously making surprise visits at the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) centres as early as five in the morning and have nabbed many touts. We have divided the teams into a group of five for the purpose. We will continue to nab them. They are usually there at the counters sometimes from 3 to 4 am to take advantage of the tatkal scheme.”
He further added, “No thanks to them, many deserving people miss out on the benefits of tatkal provision. But after our repeated intervention, it has come down drastically. During the above raids, officers and other staff have interacted with passengers and collected their feedback for providing better services to them in future.”
The nexus between touts and some railway officials have often surfaced as a result of which the authorities claim, “We are inspecting that as well and rectifying the issue as and when we come across. In fact, we have suspended 2-3 officials from one of the postal PRS. However, due to the strict inspection by our teams in the last four months, such nexus has been eliminated.”
It has been seen that due to the gravity of the situation, passengers are often forced to turn to touts as they find it almost impossible to get tatkal tickets from the
counters. These touts book tickets in advance and then sell them in black. We can only hope against hope that the Railway Protection Force will soon be able to eliminate this obnoxious system.