New Delhi: The Indian Railways is preparing a list of about 100 MPs who despite reserving seats on phone do not turn up for journey, thus denying seats to common passengers and leaving the berth unused.

“The list of such MPs will be sent to Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha,” an official of the Railway Ministry said.

Special facility

MPs have been provided with special facility to book train tickets on phone. But, they have to submit requisition form in writing confirming their journey to the authority concerned 24 hours before the journey or within a day of making the call. They can undertake the journey on such ‘zero-value tickets’ a number of times annually and no payment is made against them.

Vacant berths

But during checking by Railways Vigilance Board it has come to light that several MPs despite reserving the berths allegedly do not turn up for travel, as a result the berth goes vacant and a common passenger also misses the chance of getting a confirmed reservation.

Illegally sold

“On an average several such zero-value tickets are booked under this category every day,” the sources said, adding sometimes half of them remain unused which then is sold by some ticket checking staff illegally.

Substantial loss

The Railways incurs a substantial financial loss due to these unused zero-value tickets. On a few occasions, some MPs even book tickets for different destinations for the same date and people other than them travel on those tickets. Most of these MPs represent different political parties from north and east India.

Regular practice

“This has become a regular practice for some MPs who book tickets and do not travel or someone else travels on it,” they said.

The problem stems from the confusing rules of Railways which leave a grey area about the follow-up action in case an MP doesn’t inform in writing before setting out. “They take advantage of it,” an official said. -- PTI