CVC mulls enquiry to check Railways' Tatkal flaws



New Delhi: Amid widespread complaints of irregularities in the Tatkal scheme, the Central Vigilance Commission is considering launch of an enquiry to ascertain whether Railway officials are involved in malpractices.

Official sources said the CVC is likely to launch an enquiry either by its own officials or through the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Railways Ministry to verify reported instances of alleged irregularities in distribution of Tatkal tickets and collusion of some Railway officials with some private persons in misusing the facility.

"The Commission is aware of reports appearing in various quarters over alleged irregularities in the Tatkal scheme. It is considering to enquire into the matter to get the factual position and check any wrong doings," an official said.

He said a decision on constituting an enquiry has not yet been taken.

The CVC acts as the apex vigilance institution mandated to monitor all vigilance activity under the Central government and advise its various organisations or departments in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.

Officials said the Commission has also received some complaints of alleged irregularities in the Tatkal scheme.

An individual can get tickets under Tatkal scheme a day in advance of the journey by paying some extra charges excluding the cost of ticket either through websites or through authorised railway counters. When contacted, CVC secretary K D Tripathi, who also acts as the spokesperson for the Commission, declined to comment on the development.

"The enquiry, if ordered, will focus on alleged nexus of Railways officials and touts. It will also look into the possible loop holes in the scheme," the official said.

Meanwhile, the Railway Ministry has made certain changes to make availability of Tatkal tickets hassle-free to customers.

Railways has decided that from July 10 booking of Tatkal tickets will start at 10 AM on the previous day of journey from train originating station instead of 8 am at present.

The move is being initiated as part of revamping the Tatkal scheme amid increased complaints from passengers about touts exploiting the loopholes in the scheme.

At present, the Tatkal scheme is available for around 2,677 trains which translates to around 1.71 lakh berths. In 2011-12, earning from the scheme stood at Rs 847 crore.

The scheme has seen several changes in the recent past including reducing the days for reserving Tatkal tickets from five to one day and barring web-based agents from booking tickets during the initial hours.

An IT-Anti Fraud (ITAF) team has also been formed for cyber space surveillance and pro-active analysis and coordination with Railways vigilance and Railways Protection Force, cyber crime police and other investigating agency.

A penalty of Rs 2.5 crore has been recovered from agents for various violations based on findings by ITAF, passenger complaints, vigilance reports, press or media reports.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Limited has deactivated 44 lakh multiple user IDs since November 30 last year.

PTI