Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Railways caught 27 lakh ticketless passengers travelling on trains in 2020-21

By: |
June 07, 2021 11:02 AM

In the financial year 2019-2020, 1.10 crore people were caught in total, travelling ticketless and a cumulative fine of Rs 561.73 crore was realized from them.

special trains, ticketlessLast year, in the month of June, Indian Railways started operating special trains.

In the last fiscal, over 27 lakh people were caught travelling ticketless on Indian Railways’ trains, an RTI query has revealed. This happened despite having severe restrictions on passengers’ entry at railway stations without confirmed tickets in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the figure was 25% of the number of ticketless cases registered the previous financial year and that is attributable to the restrictions imposed by the government to check the novel coronavirus contagion, according to officials quoted in a PTI report. The Railway Board made available the data following an RTI query made by MP-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur, which showed that between the period of April 2020 and March 2021, a total of 27.57 lakh people were caught travelling ticketless and an amount of Rs 143.82 crore was levied as a fine from them.

In the financial year 2019-2020, 1.10 crore people were caught in total, travelling ticketless and a cumulative fine of Rs 561.73 crore was realized from them. The fiscal of 2020-2021 was the period when the national transporter in its history ran the least number of passenger trains due to the pandemic and there were severe restrictions on the movement of passengers inside railway premises, including non-issuance of platform tickets. It includes the period of lockdown between April 14 and May 3 when Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways was not operating any passenger trains except the Shramik Specials which started from the month of May.

Last year, in the month of June, Indian Railways started operating special trains and issued strict guidelines for the public including no booking of tickets at reservation counter, e-ticketing through IRCTC website or through mobile application, only those with confirmed tickets to be allowed entry at railway station, and screening of passengers to be done before boarding with only asymptomatic ones allowed to board the train. To ensure that the necessary pandemic-related protocols are followed, passengers who were fully waitlisted and unreserved were not allowed to travel as the unreserved train coaches were booked as reserved second sitting coaches.

According to Railway spokesperson D J Narain, the number of ticketless cases in 2020-21 was 27.57 lakh, which was less than 25% of the number of such ticketless cases detected in the year 2019-20 when such figure was 1.10 crore. This was feasible because of the wide publicity efforts by Indian Railways to create awareness as well as to discourage irregular travel, Narain added.

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