1.78 Cr Ticketless Passengers Paid Rs 1017 Crore Penalty To Indian Railways In 9 Months!
In a latest revelation, the Indian Railways has caught more than 1.78 crore ticketless passengers, and those with un-booked luggage, in the first nine months of 2021-22.
Surge In Ticketless Travel
In a response to a RTI query, it was revealed that more than Rs 1,017.48 Cr from 1.78 crore ticketless passengers were nabbed by the Indian Railways.
This seems to be a jump of around 79% from the non-Covid-hit fiscal of 2019-2020, as per the RTI response.
Further, the number of such passengers stood at 27 lakh, when severe restrictions on traffic movement were in place During fiscal of 2020-21.
The data came into picture in response to the RTI query filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur.
The data revealed by Indian Railways also shows that during April-December 2021, more than 1.78 crore passengers were detected traveling without ticket/with improper ticket and unbooked luggage.
So, Rs 1,017.48 crore was released from them as fine.
Why Would This Happen?
One of the major reasons for such a surge in ticketless travel is the fact that presently, when most of the Covid restrictions have been lifted, many express and superfast trains have only online booking and limited services, according to the sources.
During the 2019-2020 fiscal, 1.10 crore people were caught traveling ticketless and a total fine of Rs 561.73 crore was recovered from them.
This period was not impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Interestingly, in the 2020-21 fiscal, 27.57 lakh people were caught traveling ticketless and Rs 143.82 crore was levied as fine on them.
Gap In Demand And Supply
According to the passengers’ complaints, there was a demand-supply mismatch as far as train services are concerned.
Not only that, over 52 lakh people who were on the waitlist after finalization of seat reservation charts could not travel by trains in the first six months of the current fiscal, according to data provided by the Railways.
This also indicates that there is a need for more trains on busy routes.
The September months data for the financial year 2021-2022 shows that 32,50,039 PNRs (passenger name records), against which 52,96,741 passengers had bookings, were auto-cancelled.
These PNRs were in waitlist status after the preparation of the charts.
It seems that now people are traveling more and more as they could not travel because of the severe restrictions on travel over the last two years.
It could be because of emergencies or for leisures.
But, it is noteworthy here that the number of travelers has increased, but the number of trains, their frequencies have remained the same.