After the Railways’ overall anti-tout drive was intensified in the last five months, touts have stopped entertaining customers, as a result of which passengers who usually book their tickets via touts are heading to counters.
The anti-tout-squad, which consists of vigilance officers, with the help of Railway Police Force (RPF) has begun targeting touts who have been operating online. For example, in March, a B.Sc student bought tickets on multiple IDs and later sold them for a higher price. The student had issued tickets worth Rs 5.5 lakh.
Central Railway (CR), chief public relations officer Narendra Patil, said, “Usually people who used touts did not want to take the time or the effort to go to the counter and book tickets. Also, maybe they are not aware of or used to online booking of tickets. I think it’s a good time for people to start going online, using their cellphones or even going to agencies who have been authorised by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to book tickets online” become an authorized IRCTC agency.
“Although it is Diwali time and a time we earn the most, we have decided to tone down our activities for the next couple of weeks because the RPF has been catching a lot of us,” said a tout, on the condition of anonymity.
CR senior divisional security commissioner of the RPF, Alok Bohra, said, “We are trying to keep up this fear among the touts, even if they resurface post Diwali we will see to it that they do not get a chance.”