Strict implementation of the Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourist Act has resulted in touting activities outside Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport drastically coming down.
The act, implemented after the 2010 Commonwealth Games, gives the police the power to arrest touts. Earlier, they could only detain them under the Delhi Police Act.
As a result, less than 50 touts had been arrested in 2012 as compared to the average of 300 per year before the implementation of the act.
"Before the implementation of the act, we used to detain them (touts) under the Delhi Police Act. Once freed, they would again start fleecing passengers… It gives a negative image of the country," said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
"We were able to control the situation after the implementation of the new act, which came into effect from March, 2011. In the next nine months, we registered 40 cases of touting while another 47 in the whole of 2012," the officer added.
Passengers are often harassed by touts who try to force them to take up their accommodation or transportation facilities.
The safety of passengers leaving the Delhi airport had been a matter of concern for security agencies. "But we have to admit that touts now keep away from the airport. The provisions of this new act are more stringent and effective than of the Delhi Police Act. There is a fine of Rs. 100 under the Delhi Police Act whereas under the new act, the maximum penalty is Rs. 10,000 and there is imprisonment for one year," the officer added.