Coming as a bolt from the blue, the new amendment to the Jan SadharanTicket Booking Sevak (JTBS) scheme is landing the operators in a fix when they express inability to operate the system. According to a circular issued by the Railway Board, an amendment will be made so that the security deposit and bank guarantee provided by the operator will be forfeited, when they wish to withdraw from operating the service.
The circular dated August 5, 2013 says that the amendment is being made on noticing instances where the JTBS operators demand to refund the security deposit and bank guarantee while expressing their inability to operate the service.
This has put the present operators in a dilemma as they are doubtful whether the new amendment will be applicable to them too or will be effective for new applicants only. When contacted, an official of the Southern Railway said that it had asked for a clarification regarding this from the board. The operators are now signing a three-year agreement to operate JTBS centres.
The security deposit comes to Rs 30,000 and the bank guarantee is Rs 20,000. When the amendment is made, the operators will not be refunded the Rs 50,000.
For issuing an unreserved train ticket through the JTBS system, the operators are paid Rs 1 as commission per ticket.
When errors occur while issuing a ticket, the operators are badly affected. After taking away the facility for non-issuing a ticket, when errors occur, from January this year, the operators had been in trouble as per day it causes a huge drain from their pockets, as cancellation charge comes to Rs 10 for a ticket for ordinary class and Rs 20 for sleeper class.
The error can occur technically or manually and this has badly affected their profit in a day. The loss is prompting many to withdraw from operating the service. If the cancellation is not done on the same day of issuing the ticket, the operator will lose the entire amount of the ticket. “There were days when we lost up to Rs 150. Depending on our initial investment,” a JTBS operator said here.