Railways to introduce biometric system to weed out touts

Western Railway will introduce a biometric system at its Passenger Reservation System (PRS) to prevent touts from cornering tickets for long-distance trains.
The modalities are being worked out. The system is being introduced on a pilot basis in two zonal railways. In the new system, a person has to give his/her left thumb impression at the time of booking the ticket. Once the person’s identity is registered in the system, he/she will not be allowed to book ticket from the PRS more than twice in day.

WR general manager Mahesh Kumar said, “The biometric system will be introduced at one of the major PRS centres in Mumbai before the end of this calendar year.”

He has also asked the booking clerks and the RPF to check the identity card of the persons coming to book the ticket at the PRS centre. Kumar said, “This will have a deterrent effect and touts would shy away from standing in queue repeatedly to corner the tickets.”

Kumar also said he has asked his officials to introduce a token system to prevent squatting by people in PRS centres. From July 2011, the railways decided to open tatkal bookings at 10am instead of 8am to ensure that there was no rush for regular bookings and tatkal bookings in the morning. Moreover, for tatkal bookings, agents used to sleep at the counters all night. Hence, customers who want to book without an agent’s intervention found it difficult to get through the line for tickets.

However, the new timing for tatkal has triggered fights in PRS counters. A booking clerk said, “There is no separate queue for tatkal.”

WR official said that the token system will help reduce chaos to some extent.

Railways has no doubt made efforts to limit the role of touts in ticket booking. However, more needs to be done to ensure that common citizens are not left at the mercy of touts. The authorities should conduct surprise checks to ensure that touts do not develop a nexus with the booking clerk and security personnel. Use of technology in the form of CCTV network with facial recognition system to identify touts in PRS and biometric system should be introduced.


Published in: on November 25, 2012 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  

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