Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Act against Railway staff for conniving with agents: Parliamentary panel

By PTI | 30 Apr, 2013,
NEW DELHI: A Parliamentary committee has asked the Railway Ministry to take urgent steps to prevent bungling in ticket bookings and also act against railway officials for their "connivance" with Rail Traveller Service Agents (RTSA) in cornering bulk tickets.

Railways should take immediate measures to deactivate multiple user IDs of agents to do away with manipulation of the booking process, a report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

The report tabled in Parliament today sought the need for strict supervision and regulation of RTSAs to prevent misuse of ticket bookings.

The 22-member PAC headed by BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi observed, "The agents could not have continued doing their irregular activities without active involvement or connivance of the officials manning the passenger reservation system."

RTSAs are licence holder agents authorised by the Railway Ministry to procure train tickets on behalf of passengers by charging nominal service charges fixed by the ministry.

The scrutiny of the functioning of Tatkal and advance reservation system by the PAC revealed that genuine users for whom the scheme was intended were unable to avail the facility with ease as it was susceptible to manipulation.

It was also found that despite the involvement of RTSAs in various irregularities, no case has been registered against these agents in the last five years except in Delhi where nine cases were reported.

PAC was surprised to discover that around 30 travel agents in Kolkata who on the basis of injunction of the Calcutta High Court given 27 years back are still enjoying full status of RTSA and operating from there.

"The committee was perturbed to know that unauthorised agents without paying any licence fee, guarantee or security deposit are operating as railways agents only on the basis of a stay order given almost three decades back by the Calcutta High Court.

"The obvious flouting of the terms and conditions by the said travel agents could not have been continued without the connivance of the local railway officials," it observed and recommended a thorough inquiry and initiation of appropriate disciplinary proceedings against the erring officials.


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