Mumbai: Proxy railway TCs collect fines for colleagues to meet targets
WR suspends three TCs after commuter discovers some ticket collectors not only work without their ID, but also allegedly do unauthorised work to help their colleagues collect more fines
WR has asked TCs to display their ID card and badge prominently at all times while checking commuters' tickets. Picture for representation
The next time a ticket collector (TC) asks to see your ticket and doesn't have his/her badge pinned up, feel free to demand to see an ID. This is what one commuter did recently, only to discover that the TC was not meant to be on duty that day, and was filling in for a colleague in order to meet fines collection target, without authorisation.
WR has made it clear that TCs need to display their ID card and badge at all times while checking commuters' tickets. Representation pic
Sources said that following this revelation, three ticket collectors were suspended on Monday by the Western Railway (WR) administration during a meeting held with around 100 TCs. However, officials clarified said that this was a routine meeting to inform TCs of their targets for the coming months.
Rajiv Singal, Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee member
Argument with TC
The complaint was filed by commuter Rajiv Singal, who is also a member of the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC). Singal was travelling on a Churchgate-bound train on May 13, and was asked for his ticket when he alighted at the terminus. When he realised that the TC had not pinned his ID badge, an argument ensued.
Singal traveled to Dadar to take stock and saw quite a few TCs without badges on there too. "When I asked the TCs at Churchgate and Dadar station to show their ID, they got irritated. When I warned I would complain to the authorities, one TC told me that he wasn't even on duty and was filling in for a colleague," said Singal.
Sources said that this was not uncommon, as many off-duty TCs often helped their on-duty friends to collect fines and meet their targets. For instance, if three TCs were posted on duty at Dadar station, they might be joined by a few off-duty TCs as well, so that they can catch more ticketless travellers and meet their targets. In March alone, the WR recovered about R8.63 crore in fines from 1.97 lakh cases of ticketless travel, including cases of unbooked luggage.
Singal's checks at the railway stations comes days after the WR authorities met DRUCC members, who represent the 76 lakh local train commuters in the city. Sources said that during this meeting, the rail administration had made it clear that TCs need to display their ID card and badge at all times while checking commuters' tickets.
However, Singal said that his was not a one-off experience. His brother, too, was travelling on a local train recently, when a TC entered the coach without his badge and began checking tickets. "My brother tried taking a picture of the TC without his badge, but the TC snatched his phone and threatened to book him under cyber laws for clicking pictures," Singal alleged.
The other side
WR officials hinted that Singal's motive was questionable, adding that he took offence when the TC asked him to show his ticket. "When the TCs asked for his ticket, instead of showing it, he began questioning them," said an official. About Singal's allegations, WR officials confirmed they had sacked three TCs. The suspension was lifted soon after, and the TCs were let off with a warning.
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