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indian Railways’ plan to change the Tatkal reservation timing for the passengers’ convenience derailed on the very first day, creating more problems for the commuters and failing to reign in the touts.Starting Tuesday, one has to book Tatkal tickets between 10am and 12noon. Earlier, the timing was between 8am and 10am.Even after the change was introduced, residents returned empty handed and touts ruled the roost. Most passengers had to be happy with tickets on waiting list.Those who had visited the reservation counters found it tough to adjust to the new system. On Tuesday, 24 reservation counters were open, out of which, eight were allotted for booking Tatkal tickets. Among the eight, one counter was only for women commuters.When The Telegraph visited Patna Junction, it found that the new system has given birth to serpentine queues. And the already existing tout raj thriving with more energy. To make matters worse, the... Read more...
printers of five of the counters developed technical snag during the 10am to 12noon schedule.Engineering student and a resident of Boring Road, Sushmita Singh (22), expressed her disappointment on the ticketing menace. She said: “I don’t understand the logic behind changing the timing of Tatkal booking. I do not see any kind of convenience here. The railway has invited more trouble for us. I am sure that I won’t get a confirm ticket.” She added: “It does not matter what time the reservation counter opens. If you are not among the first few to get to the reservation counter there is no chance of getting confirm tickets because within five minutes all confirm tickets under Tatkal are sold.” Her claim of the trouble doubling up after the change was introduced was evident from the fact that earlier Tatkal tickets were available on all the 24 counters but from now only eight counters would be dedicated to Tatkal. Earlier, the gates of the station were opened at 6.30am. Immediately, there was a huge rush towards the reservation counters on the first floor. The citizens then collected the requisition forms and queued up in front of the counters. Manas Kumar Sinha (25), a East Boring Canal Road resident studying in Nagpur, said: “Nothing has changed. I came here at 6am and even then I failed to get a confirmed ticket. Earlier, I used to wait for two hours and now I will have to wait for four hours. This is frustrating. The touts call the shots here. The police does nothing to prevent them from collecting tickets in bulk. The railway should rethink on its decision of changing the timing.” Though the Tatkal booking started at 10am on Tuesday, the counters for normal booking of tickets were opened at 8am. During the Tatkal bookings, even authorised agents of Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation were not allowed to book tickets through Internet. Such measures were taken so that citizens don’t face any trouble while booking Tatkal tickets. However, the preventive measures were hardly of any help. Resident of Kankerbagh and a student of JD Women’s College, Chhavi Verma (21), said: “About 20 people are standing in front of me and by the time I reach the reservation counter it would be too late to get a confirmed ticket. The new system lacks transparency like the old system.” To some extent, Verma proved her point by showing how touts were thronging the area, creating problems for genuine ticket seekers. Right under the nose of Railway Protection Special Force officers and Government Railway Police, the touts continued to get tickets. However, officers pulled some of them out till 10.30am. As soon as the security personnel left the premises, the touts ruled the counters. When informed about the problems of the commuters, East Central Railway chief public relation officer Amitabh Prabhakar said: “The new system has been implemented for the convenience of the citizens. Earlier, people used to queue up from early morning to book Tatkal tickets. Now, they can get adequate time to come to the counters. However, as you informed me, it is shocking that the situation is still the same. It is not possible to make everyone happy. The railway has its own limitations.”