NEW DELHI: Indian Railways saw an unusual footfall at reservation booking counters across the country with people queuing up to book train tickets as the public run transporter is accepting Rs 500 and 1000 denomination notes for bookings.
There was an unprecedented rush to buy platform tickets with people coming with Rs 500 and 1000 notes to buy ticket worth Rs 10. Even in unreserved category ticketing window, people were giving currency notes of high value which have become invalid midnight November 8.
Initial reports from some stations reflected a jump in ticket bookings by four or five times the usual, said Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd. Jamshed.
“Passengers seem to be panic buying tickets as railways are accepting old currency notes for the convenience of passengers. We have set in place various precautionary measures and are seeking identity proofs like PAN and Aadhar for ticket bookings above Rs 50,000,” said Member Traffic Mohd. Jamshed.
The railway has taken a slew of measures to ensure convenience to passengers and is accepting old notes even for catering services.
“Post announcement by PM, we issued orders to all General Managers and Chief Commercial Managers to ensure that tickets are issued on behalf of Rs 500 and 1000 notes. There is a surge in ticket bookings and people are buying platform tickets in unusually high numbers. They all are coming with higher denomination notes and we are facing a problem with providing change to people,” ,” said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
Railway decided to withhold previous day cash from using it to make exchange payments to passengers. Besides, a special request has been made to Reserve Bank of India to provide lower denomination notes to railways.
Emergency services like hospitals, airports, petrol pumps and railway will be accepting old currency notes till November 11 midnight. Railways do ticketing business of Rs 100 crore and Rs 60 crore is through e-ticketing and Rs 40 crore over counter bookings.