It’s the peak summer time and planning for Vacation with kids? but ever wondered why you don’t get railway tickets even months in advance ? well, we might have an answer to that query right here.
An undercover investigation conducted by your favourite english newspaper The National Dawn, on railway tickets being provided by the touts, around 10 touts on camera, reveal that not only outsiders rule the game but it’s the insiders including coolies, deputed at the railway station, often found in their red dress, taking a front seat on booking railway tickets on a payment for their’ services’.
In the course of our investigation, right under the nose of senior officials of the Surat railway station, around ten touts including coolies were found to be selling confirmed railway tickets on a price fixed by them or their ‘masters’. So if you have to compulsorily travel on that day, there is nothing better than to contact the touts as from the reservation windows it’s almost impossible for the common man to get a confirmed ticket.
Some of these touts work at the reservation counters, while others, especially the coolies prefer to work from the platform entrance.
Moreover, one of the touts named, Bishen says that he is working there from several years. He also says that there are several others who earn their livelihood from here. Though he knows that this is illegal but he opines: “ Agar Aap sahi rahenge to nahi chal payenge… aap aam khao na guthli kyun ginte ho… ( If you are upright you will not be able to survive… you eat the mangoes don’t care about anything else.)”.
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The investigation reveals that these touts charge according to their own whims and fancies. The prices for their services are dependent on the route and importance of the trains…
Though people believe them and give them the money, many of the times these touts fail to provide any confirmation on the tickets though they assure the passengers that the ticket will get confirmed at before charting is done.
The investigation also reveal that these touts work in a group and not independently. When the reporter approached a coolie at the entrance of the platform, he took time to call his partner to fix the deal. But as there was no ticket to be booked, after negotiations, the reporter said that the names of the passengers is to be sent through SMS and he will contact them soon.
The railway authorities, who boast of turning the city station into a dream destination had forgot to pay heed towards this malpractice.
A passenger, on condition of anonymity, when contacted, said: “It is not only the Surat railway administration which has failed miserably to counter such malpractices right under its nose, the citizens who book tickets through such touts are to be blamed as well. When people know that this is illegal then how and why they fall prey to such offers made by the coolies and the touts. They are to be blamed equally for the sudden rise of corruption, especially during the vacation period, related to the railway reservation.”
Area Manager of Surat, Western Railway SK Yadav, even after repeated calls did not pick up the phone though an official version was sought through an SMS.