Questioning the motive of railway staff for issuing unconfirmed tickets beyond the permissible limits, Railway Pravasi Group convener Harsha Shah has demanded action against such ticketing staff.
Commuters purchasing unconfirmed tickets often travel in the sleeper coach, which is a cause of friction between bona fide and unreserved passengers in long- distance trains. According to commuter groups, railway administration issuing unconfirmed tickets beyond permissible limits is in a way responsible for this conflict, said Shah. “Unconfirmed waiting list tickets are at times issued beyond 1,500. This unfair practice is rampant in trains plying to Uttar Pradesh and seasonal trains,” Shah said.
But, railway officials have a different view of the ongoing practice. Y K Singh, Public Relations Officer, Pune Railway Division, said, “The issuance of additional 1,300 to 1,400 unconfirmed tickets on particular routes is being done to ascertain the need of starting new trains. We have to survey the demands on various routes so as to justify the new trains. Passengers with unconfirmed tickets are not supposed to travel in sleeper class coach.”
When Shah was informed of the motive, she said, “The railways have never declared such survey methods for starting new trains. If that was the case then why don’t railway authorities collect forms from passengers from different stations across the country? In fact such surveys can’t be done by law.”
Any commuter issued a waitlisted ticket should check the reservation chart and inquire with the ticket checker before boarding the train. They should travel only if seats are available, otherwise they may face action. Section 155 of the Railways Act (1989) says, ‘A passenger entering a compartment wherein no berth or seat is reserved by railway administration for his use or the person has illegally occupied the reserved seat, then he is liable for punishment with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees’.