The Ministry of Railways recently passed the diktat that passengers must carry proof of their identity while travelling in long distance trains, even if they are journeying in the sleeper class.
Predictably, the decision hasn’t gone down well with passengers, and there is another group of individuals who are up in arms against it – the decision has been met with stiff resistance from ticket-checking staff. Ticket checkers (TC) have been complaining about the sudden change in rules and are of the opinion that this will only burden them further.
“We are not against the rule that has been passed by the Railway Ministry, but we are against the sudden announcement. We are short-staffed. We already have many bogies and passengers to check for tickets and ID cards. By making the rule applicable to sleeper class, they have created difficulties for us. Our lives will become hellish,” said a ticket checker from Mumbai Central.
Another TC complained that this is not a practical decision coming the railway authorities, and said he has spoken to his superiors about the problems he and his colleagues are anticipating.
“There are thousands of passengers in the sleeper class, who travel on waitlisted tickets and it will be very difficult for us to check their tickets as well as ID cards. Even now passengers come with photocopies of their ID cards and ask us to accept them. You can imagine how this decision will magnify our problem,” he said.
A railway official, requesting anonymity, acceded that the decision isn’t feasible. “There are many who don’t even know the meaning of ID proof. How will they pay the fine when they don’t have the money to buy tickets? The sleeper class is meant for the poorer sections and we know that many don’t have their IDs,” said the official.
A K Singh, PRO, Central Railways, said, “This step has been taken for the benefit of passengers and after introduction of this scheme, only bonafide passengers will be travelling in the trains. The passengers can also travel more safely.”