Unauthorised travel agents, who fail to do business at reservation counters in the state capital, function through links in other cities, say railway officials. And if statistics are anything to go by, more than 90% Tatkal tickets for journeys from UP cities to Mumbai are booked in Mumbai.
Tatkal tickets booked in other cities are delivered in Lucknow and adjoining cities at appropriate time by courier service, or even in flights. The new modus operandi of touts was revealed during the course of ongoing routine inspection by Railways authorities.
Take for example the case of Kushinagar Express (Gorakhpur to Mumbai via Lucknow). Officials on Sunday found that 235 of the total 344 seats in Tatkal quota from Lucknow were booked i n Mumbai. In AC-2, four out of 10 seats, in AC-3 17 out of 32 and in sleeper class, 214 out of 302 seats were booked in Mumbai.
Similarly in the Gorakhpur-Mumbai LTT Express, 99 of the 127 Tatkal seats from Lucknow were booked in Mumbai. These included three out of 8 seats in AC-2, 7 out of 12 in AC-3 and 89 out of 107 in sleeper class that were booked in Mumbai. On Saturday, 235 seats out of the Tatkal quota of 302 in Kushinagar Express were found booked in Mumbai. Similarly, 100 out the 127-berth Tatkal quota i n Mumbai- bound train Gorakhpur-Mumbai LTT express were booked in Mumbai.
“We have found that more than 90% of the tickets for journeys to Mumbai are booked in Mumbai only. We are in touch with railway officials in other cities to dig out more details,” said Radheysham, senior divisional commercial manager (SDCM), North Eastern Railway.
Officials said tickets for trains scheduled to leave in the evening are more in demand. Both the Kushinagar Express and Gorakhpur-Mumbai LTT depart from Lucknow during night hours. “Tickets for such trains are booked at counters in other cities which are an overnight journey away from the state capital. Tickets are either couriered or sent by flight,” added Radheysham.
During the drive on Saturday, Railways officials also arrested two touts who revealed their Tatkal racket. The duo was identified as Pradeep Kumar Yadav and Vikas Tiwari.
A ticket (bearing PNR No. 27193333159) seized from Yadav had three berths in B2 coach of Kushinagar Express. It was booked in Tilak Nagar area of Mumbai and he had come to Lucknow to deliver it. Similarly, Tiwari also carried a four-berth ticket (PNR 2510413968) of the same train booked in Mumbai to be delivered in Barabanki.