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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

E-ticketing a pain as poor plan, rivalry plagues rlys

Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 08, 2013
First Published: 00:14 IST(8/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:16 IST(8/3/2013)

Film producer Ronnie Screwvala wants the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation website to go with this tagline: "This webpage is not available".

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Actor Gul Panag tweets that buying a ticket on the IRCTC site is like dealing with a snail on sedatives. 

The corporation's high moment of having touched the 5 lakh peak in the daily sale of e-tickets this month is rather being ruined by a rush of IRCTC jokes that have erupted on the social media.

"Something that Rajnikant cannot do -  book a Tatkal ticket from the IRCTC website," says one "IRCTC victim".

"Such comments are harsh," says IRCTC managing director Rakesh Tandon. Facts of the case are that just about 2 lakh tatkal tickets are available against 8 to 10 crore people that are coming to book. So, it is natural that almost 80% of the people wanting to buy such tickets face disappointment," he explains.

Over the last six months, the IRCTC has spent R10 lakh to upgrade its existing system. Simultaneously, the railways are also working on a Rs. 120-crore plan to bring about a "paradigm shift" in the e-ticketing system, as announced by railways minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

"Intentions are right, but problems are about execution. Such tasks have remained caught up in inter-departmental rivalries and bad planning," admitted an official.

In 2008, the Railways jumped into competition with its own PSU - the IRCTC - by deciding to launch its own commercial portal.  After a three-year struggle, plan to provide e-ticketing facilities from the Railways portal were abruptly dropped.

Present upgrade plans are marred by confusion.

"Expensive hardware has been procured to upgrade the existing system, but these have not been deployed for lack of technical solutions in operating and maintaining the system," sources said.


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