BIG CATCH: Rlys collect Rs 3.83 lakh from ticketless commuters at Andheri in 14 hrs
Leading from the front, the Western Railway’s (WR) divisional manager yesterday ditched the comfort of his office and stationed himself at the foot over bridge of Andheri railway station. The result: 1,685 ticketless commuters were caught and fined, earning the WR Rs 2.5 lakh on one day.
Shailendra Kumar, divisional railway manager (Mumbai), along with 158 rail officials, laid siege at Andheri railway station yesterday, looking for ticketless travellers
As part of a 48-hour ongoing drive to curb the menace of ticketless travelling, Shailendra Kumar, divisional railway manager (Mumbai), along with 158 ticket checkers (TC), laid siege at Andheri from 6 am to 8 pm.
When mid-day visited the station, it came as a pleasant surprise to see the top railway official asking commuters for valid tickets. At around 3.50 pm, Kumar approached a man carrying a bulky carton on his head.
Soon after he was stopped, the commuter was asked to lay down his goods and asked for a ticket for both. The man did not have one and was fined as per the law. Meanwhile, just a few feet away, an altercation ensued. A passenger began arguing with a TC, questioning the reason behind such random checks.
Until 2 pm, the WR authorities had collected fines amounting to over Rs 2.5 lakh, and by 8 pm earned Rs 3.83 lakh. Following the success of the drive, similar intensive checks will be held at Borivli and Dadar stations soon, authorities said.
Several of the commuters gave some silly reasons when asked to pay the fine of Rs 260 for travelling without a ticket. One individual carrying an iPad and an expensive phone had only Rs 40 in his pocket after he was caught without a valid ticket. When mid-day asked him the reason for travelling ticketless, he said, “I’ve been using this bridge regularly and no one has caught me.”
Another lady who was apprehended said she dropped her ticket somewhere, while an offender said that he forgot his ATM card at the bank and hence didn’t have money. When the official asked him which bank, he lacked an answer and was asked to call someone to pay the fine.
Meanwhile, seizing the opportunity of a top railway official present, several passengers complained about the presence of hawkers at the station and shoddy train services. “I was told by a bona fide commuter that the hawker menace outside Andheri station on the western side is a hazard. I have instructed WR officials men to evacuate them,” said Shailendra Kumar, DRM, WR.