An IBN7 expose has revealed why genuine passengers have virtually no shot at a Railway Tatkal ticket. The expose reveals how touts corner tickets meant for emergency travel and sell them at a huge premium.
One of the touts IBN7 reporter met offered him a Tatkal ticket for Rs 1300, a steep price when compared to a regular sleeper class ticket that costs about Rs 400.
The sting conducted at the New Delhi Railway Station and Mumbai and Kurla terminus showed how the touts cornered tickets meant for emergency travel even before the counters opened.
The touts proceeded to offered coach details even before booking the tickets.
IBN7 also saw men in police uniform organising the tickets for a premium.
More importantly, it was found that the IRCTC server would hang daily for about 4-5 minutes at around 8 am as soon as the Tatkal scheme opened. This was when the touts would book tickets.
Following is the transcript of how the conversation went between IBN7 and the tout:
IBN7: How much for one ticket?
Agent: Rs 1300.
IBN7: But a Sleeper Class ticket costs about Rs 400.
Agent: At least Rs 600 for Tatkal.
IBN7: Can you reduce the amount?
Agent: The operator won't agree.
IBN7: Please reduce the price from Rs 1300.
Agent: There is no scope at all... if there were 2-3 people, I could have reduced it to Rs 1100.
A parallel investigation at the Kurla terminus took IBN7 to another tout.
IBN7: Can I get a ticket for tonight or tomorrow in Golden Temple Express?
IBN7: I need to reach Delhi tomorrow... Can I get a ticket in Tatkal?
IBN7: How much will it cost?
Agent: Rs 1200.
IBN7: That's too high.
Agent: Yes but that's the rate. What's your name?
IBN7: Will I get a confirmed ticket?
Agent: Yes, it will be confirmed.
IBN7: How much should I pay?
Agent: Rs 1200. You have my number. Call me at 7 pm. I will give you the PNR number. Your ticket will be confirmed in the S5 coach.
IBN7: Are you sure I will get a confirmed ticket?
Agent: Rest assured.
The tout's confidence was surprising. He was offering a confirmed ticket in the coach of the passenger's choice even before the Tatkal quota was out. IBN7 tried to book the same ticket online, but the website showed a waiting list of 19 people. At the counter too, it was the same story.
Operator: It's a waiting list of 20 people.
IBN7: It's the waiting list?
Operator: Yes, waiting for 20 people.
When IBN7 probed further, it found that the touts used the internet to book tickets in advance.
Agent: Our work will be done by the Internet.
Agent: Even if no one else can do bookings on the Internet, we will be able to. After all we invest nearly Rs 1 lakh a day on these bookings. We get a print-out at exactly 30 seconds before 8 am.
At around 8 am is when the IRCTC server hangs daily for around 4-5 minutes, which is when these touts book the tickets.