New Delhi: The Indian Railways has begun the crackdown on touts who manipulate the ticket booking system to corner Tatkal tickets and then sell them to genuine passengers at a premium. Railway Police Force on Saturday morning launched simultaneous raids across Delhi and arrested four touts.
Raids are also being conducted at railway ticket booking offices and several unauthorised agents have also been detained after a IBN7 expose showed them cornering Tatkal tickets.
One of the touts arrested has been identified as Prem, who was caught red-handed in the IBN7 sting operation. Prem was a arrested at the booking office at Karkardooma in Delhi.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles e-booking of tickets, admitted that the system needs a revamp.
"Our booking system is totally transparent. There is no malfunctioning. Yes, some people try to misuse it and it needs a revamp from time to time," said IRCTC MD Rakesh Tandon.
In a bid to mitigate the suffering of the passengers and make the ticket booking procedure less troublesome, the Railway decided to revamp the entire Tatkal system at a late-night meeting on Friday.
The Railway will soon have separate counters and timings for Tatkal bookings, CCTVs will be installed at all booking centres and several changes will be made in e-ticketing as well to curb malpractices.
Officials have proposed to start Tatkal bookings from 10 am and other advance bookings from 8 am. The Railway is planning to make identity card compulsory for all reservations. Railway Minister Mukul Roy will hold a meeting of top railway officials on Monday to discuss the proposals.
The Railway is also looking at the possibility of changes in the internet bookings to try and ensure that only one Tatkal booking per computer system is allowed. The Railway Ministry planning to get a software that will allow just one booking per IP address.
According to railway officials the booking clerk will not be allowed to use the mobile phone during the working hours.
"With a view to further improve the delivery of Tatkal tickets to passengers, the Ministry of Railways has decided that with effect from 10.07.2012 booking of Tatkal ticket will start at 1000 hours on the previous day of journey from train originating station instead of 0800 hours at present. No authorised agents, including agents of IRCTC and RTSAs/RTAs will be allowed to book Tatkal tickets from 1000 hours to 1200 hours. The existing restriction of not allowing these agents booking of general tickets on the opening day from 0800 hours to 1000 hours will also continue," said a Railway Ministry press release.