Passengers of the Chennai Express, a popular train for travelling from Mumbai to Pune during the night, were in for a shock on Saturday when a ticket collector (TC) turned up drunk and started abusing them. According to passengers of the S5 coach of the train, the TC was so drunk that he couldn’t talk properly and when he spoke with passengers he showered them with expletives. Despite filing a complaint, no action has been taken against the erring staffer yet.
One of the passengers, Pawan Kumar, tweeted to the Ministry of Railways, with a picture of the TC, to help in identification as he was not wearing the name badge.
“It was terrible. He turned up and started demanding bribe from those who didn’t have tickets. He started abusing them and asked for more money than what was being offered. I tried to intervene and that’s when I noticed that he was intoxicated. He started shouting at me too. I saw that he was also abusing the catering staff,” said Kumar.
I received a response from the Mumbai divisional railway manager’s twitter account, who had sought details of the incident. “I gave all the details, with the train’s current location so they can de-board him at Pune and conduct a medical test. However, nothing happened. The officials didn’t do anything, apart from asking for my details,” added Kumar.
When asked for a comment, Narendra Patil, chief public relations officer for Central Railway, said an inquiry has been ordered into the entire incident. “We have taken note of the complaint and have already initiated an inquiry into it. We will take up the staff at fault,” said Patil.
Harsha Shah of the Railway Pravasi Group said ticket collectors turning up in an inebriated state was not uncommon.
“This is not a one-off incident. Railways don’t have a mechanism to check if the on-board staffers report to work sober. Many ticket checkers employed in the Mumbai Division, who are on duty in trains going towards Pune, have to spend several hours travelling. So, many choose to spend their time drinking alcohol. So, a TC being drunk on duty is not so unusual,” said Shah.