A SPECIAL squad of the Central Railway (CR) nabbed at least 492 passengers for allegedly misusing travel concessions provided for senior citizens by the Indian Railways in a span of 17 days. Officials said these passengers were posing as senior citizens and were declared ticketless and further penalised by railway staff.
The drive was carried out by the special anti-tout squad in all five divisions of the CR, including Pune, from October 15 to 31. During the inspection, officials checked passengers, who had availed travel concession.
The squad detected 492 cases and collected a penalty amount of Rs 3.94 lakh.
According to the Indian Railways travel concession policy, male and female senior citizens, aged 60 and 58 respectively, are granted 40 per cent and 50 per cent concession, respectively, in all classes of express and mail trains, including Shatabdi and Rajdhani, and more. There is no age proof required at the time of buying tickets but at the time of journey, a senior citizen is required to carry prescribed and authentic documentary proof as issued by the government, depicting date of birth or age group.
Officials said the passengers were found travelling with fake ID cards, transfer of non-transferable tickets, conversion of system generated ticket to e-ticket. There were five cases of forging tickets to change age or sex. Similarly, there were several cases of passengers travelling with documents that did not match age criteria and even those who possessed fake Aadhaar cards.
According to rules, if quota berths have been cornered by wrong declaration of age, then the passenger is treated as ticketless traveller, which means the person has to pay the full fare and penalty. In such cases, the amount paid for booking the ticket and the lower berth allotted under the quota are forfeited.
The Ministry of Railways had recently directed the Centre for Railway Information Systems and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation to make a provision in e-tickets, where the full form of the quota under which the ticket has been booked is given so that the passengers are not cheated by unscrupulous ticketing agents.
Pune division’s Travelling Ticket Examiner squads have detected 99,000 ticketless travellers in the last seven months. This is 14.67 per cent higher than the number of ticketless travellers detected during the same time duration in 2018.
Officials said the railways earned Rs 5.73 lakh on cash penalties realised from ticketless travellers. Last year, Pune division nabbed 87,000 ticketless travellers between April and October and earned Rs 4.77 crore in penalty.
“We urge our patrons to travel only after buying a valid ticket and follow all rules, failing which they will have to pay cash penalty and, in some cases, can be sent behind bars,” said Milind Deouskar, Pune divisional railway manager.