It’s the great Indian Railways e-ticketing ripoff. An illegal network of agents who not only plough in profits to the tune of lakhs by conning passengers to cough up five times the e-ticketing fee, but also hacking into the IRCTC website to corner tatkal tickets in bulk.
So, if you wondered why a confirmed tatkal ticket is so difficult to get, you have got your answer. Also, when you are being charged Rs 100 by a travel agent for a confirmed ticket, you are being duped. The actual fee is Rs 20.
The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the principal agency for ticketing, has recently stumbled upon this scam. Sources said sub-agents have developed a software package through which they hack into the IRCTC website during the opening hours of 8am to 9am and book tatkal tickets .
These shocking revelations have prompted IRCTC to set up an anti-fraud squad at the internet ticketing centre.
In the past three months, the vigilance department has launched surprise raids on about 150 sub-agents. Now, it has fixed the rules for booking e-tickets. First, only a single user can register on one email ID to book tickets. And agents will not be permitted to book tatkal or normal tickets between 8am to 9am when the IRCTC website opens.
Second, registration of all new principal and sub-agents has been stopped.
The department has also found that travel agents have created several IDs to apply for e-tickets, which were later de-activated. In June alone, the department deactivated around 2,831 multiple user IDs used to issue e-tickets. An IRCTC official said, “It has been found that passengers are charged somewhere between Rs 100 and 200 for every e-ticket, but no acknowledgement slip or receipt is given. Instead passengers are told these charges are included in the price of the fare. Also, agents are supposed to charge a fee for every PNR number, but they charge for every passenger on a particular ticket. Agents also don’t ask passengers to fill up requisition forms before issuing tickets nor do they display ticket charges anywhere in their offices. This is in gross violation of rules.”
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