Bulk purchase of e-tickets by agents hits common man in Visakhapatnam
When you are booking a tatkal ticket through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) portal, don't be surprised if you are not able to access it despite logging in at the right time.
Visakhapatnam: When you are booking a tatkal ticket through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) portal, don't be surprised if you are not able to access it despite logging in at the right time.
Hundreds of passengers share a similar experience while booking e-tickets. The recent raids of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) reveal that both principal service providers and unlicensed travel agencies are involved in procuring e-tickets in bulk through the IRCTC website and selling them at a premium price.
This is one of the prime reasons why a common man fails to book e-tickets. With complaints from the passengers trickling in, the railway vigilance delved deep into the issue, launching an investigation.
"Agents are using fake personal IDs to book tatkal tickets when the website opens for the public," a railway vigilance official, who has been part of the recent raids, told The Hans India.
The online slot for booking tatkal tickets opens at 10 am for AC class and 11 am for non-AC class for general public. As per the IRCTC regulations, agents will not be able to access the site for the first 15 minutes. However, these tickets are getting exhausted online within five to 10 minutes.
Utilising ANMS software, meant to book tatkal tickets in a quick manner, the registered travel agents are exploiting the facility available to book mass tickets, creating fake personal IDs, according to the RPF officials.
How is the portal was hacked? The violators keep the details of the passengers ready. As soon as the booking opens online, the agents hack the IRCTC site through the ANMS software. Within few minutes, bulk e-tickets can be bought at one go before the common man accesses it.
"This is the modus operandi followed by the agents to book bulk tickets and selling them at premium misusing the software designed for the reservation of general public. From January to December second week, RPF registered 78 cases during the raids conducted at various places.
In the process, 84 agents have been taken into custody and 3,411 e-tickets have been seized worth Rs.62.41 lakh," said K P James, Assistant Commissioner, RPF. The RPF found out that the agents are misusing the ANMS tatkal software for booking bulk tickets. This sort of violation using the software was first registered at Waltair Division, East Coast Railway.
During festival season, the agents earn an extra premium of Rs.200 to Rs.1,000 on each ticket. These agents are dependent on the third party for the installation of ANMS software costing from Rs 2,000 to Rs 6,000 a month wherein the latter ensures that the agents get bulk e-tickets through the software. RPF is stepping up its vigilance to keep a tab on the violators.