In an effort to cope with the festival rush, Northern Railway has announced a number of measures to improve its services and put a curb on malpractices in its mass contact area which includes the reservation and booking office, travel agencies, stations and trains.

Northern Railway said it will also open maximum counters during the period up to November 15 by posting extra staff. For this it has cancelled all leaves of reservation, booking and commercial staff.

At the New Delhi reservation centre, around 10 to 11 extra counters have been opened to manage the rush, especially high during the first half hour daily from 8 to 8-30 a.m. for tatkal bookings. Commercial officers and supervisors have also been deployed at major locations where public related services are provided. They have been monitoring queues with the assistance of Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel in the Delhi area.

The Northern Railway has introduced around 850 trips of puja special trains till September 30 and by the end of this November, it expects to run around 1,500 trips of these resulting in an increase of around 10 per cent over the last year.

“We introduced six mail/express and two passenger regular trains till the end of September over and above the 16 mail/express and three passenger trains, introduced in 2010-2011. Moreover, all trains have been augmented to run with maximum capacity.

To check corruption and malpractices in reservation, the first 10 to 15 requisition slips of passengers are being countersigned by the reservation supervisors to verify the passengers and to ensure issue of tickets on first-come-first-serve basis. The administration has also instructed that the concerned commercial staff of Delhi area would not be granted leave except under exceptional circumstances during this period,” noted the release.

Various special drives to check malpractice in the mass contact area, especially those involving the touts, misuse of various quota, overcharging by reservation or booking clerks have been launched by the Northern Railway. Vigilance, commercial and anti-fraud staff along with RPF are jointly organising these checks.

Manning of stations and trains has been intensified and surprise security checks are being conducted.

“Availability of drinking water, seating arrangement at stations, sanitation and cleanliness, manning of enquiry counters, reasonable catering and first-aid facilities at various stations have been augmented. We appeal to the passengers to travel with valid tickets and be vigilant on their journey,” noted Northern Railway general manager S. K. Budhalakoti.

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