Tatkal ticket rules set to get stricter

In a bid to prevent misuse of the Tatkal scheme and to discourage touts from taking advantage of the emergency ticket booking facility, the Indian Railways may soon scrap the Tatkal scheme.

Last Updated: Jun 29, 2012, 16:58 PM IST

New Delhi: Faced with mounting complaints of misuse of tatkal scheme, Railways are planning to have dedicated counters and separate time slots for selling tatkal tickets.

Plans are afoot to install CCTV cameras at the ticket counters to keep a close watch on tatkal ticket seekers and making e-reservation more fool-proof.

"Besides, we have decided to bar booking clerks from carrying mobile to reservation counters," said Northern Railway General Manager VK Gupta, while other officers said the "character of the tatkal scheme will be changed".

Talking to reporters here, Gupta said separate counters and time slots for tatkal reservation would also be put in place very soon to prevent touts from misusing the scheme.

His comments come a day after the Railway Board reviewed the tatkal scheme, which was introduced to help passengers travelling on emergency. However, there have been increased complaints that passengers have been unable to exploit the scheme properly, thanks to the role of touts.

Despite a number of changes carried out in the scheme in the recent past including reducing the days for reserving tatkal tickets from five to only one day and barring web-based agents from booking tickets during the first hours, touts continued to exploit the scheme, selling tatkal tickets at a premium.

At present, tatkal scheme is available in around 2677 trains which translates to around 1.71 lakh berths. In 2011-12, earning from the scheme stood at Rs 847 crore.

Gupta said CRIS, the IT wing of railways and IRCTC, will audit the tatkal programme to plug the loopholes to check irregularities.

Other measures like allowing reservation of only one ticket from a computer system is also being looked into.

Meanwhile, RPF has posted two special teams to keep a watch on touts crowding booking counters while policing will be stepped up in ticketing offices to arrest unauthorised vendors and the touts.

Even as more than 900 touts have been apprehended over the last one year, Gupta said 100 to 200 touts were caught only in the last couple of weeks due to the stepped up efforts to take on them.

He said steps were also being contemplated for manning of the automatic vending machine at railway platforms.