The Indian Railways have earned Rs 1,097 crore through penalties imposed on ticket-less travelers, and expecting more during the remaining month in the current financial year. The Railways have also booked as many as 2,000 “touts” involved in the black marketing of tickets across India. The fines figure is for the period April 2017 to February 2018, and Railway officials say March could yield another Rs 200 crore, which could be a great bonus for the Indian Railways.
“We are making it more and more difficult to travel ticketless, This is a huge amount of money realised from offenders caught through intense checking drives.” told a Railway Board Member
Drives carried out by a large number of ticket-checking staff, supported by security forces, were backed by CCTV coverage at key stations. There were “ambush checks” and “fortress checks”, during which officials cordoned off areas of porous stations to block every possible exit. The general unreserved class in long-distance trains usually has a large number of offenders, officials said.
Between April and February, 3 crore individuals were found travelling without a valid ticket, about a crore more than the number this time the previous financial year. Besides those travelling without tickets, there were those with tickets in others’ names, children without tickets, and adults travelling on half-tickets.
Trains and stations around Delhi had the highest number of ticketless travellers. Northern Railway collected some Rs. 150 crore from these drives — around Rs 46 crore more than the same period the previous year. Mumbai’s Central Railway, with a predominant suburban rail system, came second in the list, earning Rs. 143 crore, some Rs 25 crore more than the previous year.
Usually ticket-less travellers are made to pay the original fare between the origin and destination of the train, along with a penalty of Rs 250. For premium trains, the penalty is double. Touts and unauthorised vendors are booked as per provision of Sections 143 and 144 of the Railways Act, 1989. Illegal users of online e-tickets are prosecuted under provision of Section 143 of Railways Act, 1989.