In its latest attempt to curb touts, the reservation centre at the Pune railway station will soon install biometric systems that will help the authorities to keep unauthorised ticket ‘agents’ at bay.
The move comes after several efforts to curb the menace, such as installing CCTV cameras and changing the booking timings failed to rein in touts.
According to Divisional Railway Manager (Pune) Suneet Sharma the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) at Pune Station will get two biometric machines which will keep a tab on multiple visits from the same person.
“In this system, the ticket buyer has to give a thumb impression before entering the reservation counters. After one places the finger on the machine, it will generate a token that has to be taken to the booking window for issuance of the ticket. Once the person’s identity is registered in the system, he/she will not be allowed to book ticket from the PRS more than twice in day. Thus we have joined two techniques – issuance of tokens to avoid crowding at windows and keeping biometric data of visitors,” said Sharma.
Sharma said the move would go a long way in curbing the tout menace. “At present, we don’t have any effective mechanism to see if a single person is visiting the reservation centre multiple times a day or a week. Once the biometric system is in place, we could monitor the visitors and their frequency and thus check the suspiciously frequent visitors,” said Sharma.
He said the two biometric machines will be installed at the main gate of the PCR building. “The tenders will be given out this month and the machines will be installed within two months,” added Sharma.
Previously, the railway administration had tried to curb the touts by installing the CCTV cameras inside the reservation centre. The idea was to keep a tab on the frequent visitors by checking the CCTV footage during the busy hours. The move, however, failed to have any impact as there were only two CCTV cameras which failed to cover the entire row of over a dozen ticket windows. Later, the administration mooted another plan of installing additional cameras so that each and every window could be covered. This plan remains to be implemented.
Another attempt to curb the touts, which was implemented nationwide by the Railways, was a change in the Tatkal booking timings from 8 am-10 am slot to 10 am to 12 pm. This also failed to have the desired impact.
Although the Western Railway had announced that it would install biometric machines at the reservation counters in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the project has failed to take off. The only station in the country to that has working biometic system is Jabalpur Station near Bhopal.