Nearly 76 lakh passengers booked for travelling without tickets
Ticketless train travellers have hard times ahead. The South Central Railway authorities have let loose special checking squads to identify and penalise people travelling without tickets in trains. Failure to pay the penalty may even result in prosecution. The squads have so far booked nearly 76 lakh passengers for travelling without tickets and for carrying un-booked luggage during 2012-13 (up to March 25). The SCR officials could mop up revenue to the tune of Rs.23.35 crore as penalty.
“As many as 291 passengers, who did not pay the penalty, have been prosecuted,” said Vijayawada Divisional Railway Manager Pradeep Kumar.
“Two base camps located at Rajahmundry and Tuni and two more squads camping at Ongole and Nellore railway stations have been entrusted with the task of conducting surprise checks. Three more squads one among them represented by women will operate from Vijayawada station”, said Senior Divisional Commercial Manager L.S.R.K. Sastry. In all, seven ticket checking squads, each headed by a Chief Traffic Inspector (CTI) and 10 other staff members will conduct cross-country checks (travelling by bus and train to conduct surprise checks in trains going in different routes), fortress checks (organising checks by camping in one station), 96-hours checks (at the behest of the Railway Board) and mini squad checks in Vijayawada Division. The checking officers will book cases against the erring travellers, irregular travelling and for un-booked luggage. These squads will be escorted by the Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force. In 2011-12, the squads collected a sum of Rs.18.65 crore and the variation of revenue was 23.74 per cent, when compared to February last year, Mr. Sastry pointed out.
“Nearly 260 trains cross Vijayawada railway station every day and 70 checking staff will organise these round-the-clock checks at various stations. Two TTEs have been appointed at Nellore and Vijayawada to prosecute the passengers who do not pay the penalty. The checking staff, however, have been instructed against rude behaviour and asked to treat senior citizens and the elderly with respect,” said Mr. Sastry. Citing cases of passengers boarding wrong bogies when in a hurry to avoid missing their train, Mr. Pradeep Kumar said the checking inspectors had been told to be courteous with them. “The South Central Railway recently conducted a three-day training session for booking clerks, TTEs and other staff on polite behaviour”, said Mr. Kumar.