New Delhi: Wondered why tickets under the tatkal scheme proved to be elusive just when you wanted to make that journey on India Railways during an emergency? The official auditor has a simple answer: Manipulation.
In a report on Indian Railways tabled in Parliament on Friday, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said its study on tatkal and advance reservation system had some very startling revelations, including manipulation and irregularities.
"It revealed that genuine users, for whom the scheme was introduced were not able to access the facility with ease as it was susceptible to manipulation," said the report, holding booking clerks responsible along with agents and touts.
"There were irregularities such as booking of tickets before and beyond business hours and booking of all tatkal quota tickets within just a few minutes of the opening of reservation," the report noted.
"Further, test check of the accessibility of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp server revealed that during login at the web site exactly at 8 am on the day of booking for tatkal or general tickets, the system would hang," it said.
"It took 4-5 minutes to login, by which time tatkal quota was sold out."
It also said the general application and controls in the reservation and also internet booking systems were inadequate, which again left scope for manual intervention in the network, that further aided the manipulation.
The advance reservation period fixed for tatkal tickets was five days, excluding the date of journey, which was revised to two days. These tickets can be booked between 8 am and 8 pm on week days and between 8 am and 2 pm on holidays.