Touts in Delhi have already conered bulk of tickets to Bengal during Puja
EVEN as the railways try hard to rein in the touts, life hasn’t changed much for them as they prepare to make a killing with the festive season some months away. And for this they must thank the railways for advancing the booking period from 90 to 120 days from March 10 this year.
So, even though Durga Puja is nearly four months away, a quick check on the IRCTC website will reveal that there is not a single ticket available in the non- AC compartments in most trains travelling from New Delhi to Kolkata.
One of the main reasons is that the touts have already booked hundreds of tickets of Kolkata- bound trains. The festival attracts a mad rush as those hailing from West Bengal try their best to make it home during the Durga Puja. Taking advantage of the rule which allows one to book tickets four months in advance, touts have already booked non- AC tickets to sell it in the black.
On Saturday, a tout working at the New Delhi railway station said booking non- AC tickets in advance and selling them during festivals and vacations is routine business for them.
“ This is one of the easiest ways to make money. We have bought tickets four months in advance and will sell them to the people during October at the time of Durga Puja,” one of the touts said.
The touts claimed they buy non- AC tickets in different age categories to cater to the massive demands of the people.
Travelling in non- AC compartment, does not require an identity proof and that only benefits the touts.
“ Anybody can travel on anybody’s ticket within the same age group as identity proof is not required,” the tout said, adding that he generally makes ` 500 to ` 800 on each ticket.
Even tickets of AC compartments have been booked four months in advance. No seat in AC- III tier was available in most of the trains. Explaining the reason behind this, a railway official said that in most of the superfast trains, there are around 10 non- AC sleeper class coaches, while only two or three for AC III. People generally book the AC tickets in advance so that they can travel comfortably.
But many people who travel in non- AC sleeper class don’t buy tickets four months in advance as they believe there would be enough number of seats, thus giving the touts an opportunity to hoard tickets.
The RPF on Saturday arrested 12 touts as part of a clean- up drive. Three touts had been nabbed a day earlier.