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Special Force to crack down Touts

Three days after  campaign highlighting the difficulties faced by passengers trying to book Tatkal tickets — touts crowding booking counters and online portals not being the least — the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has set up two special teams to crack down on the fraudsters. 

Given the summer rush, policing will be stepped up at stations — particularly ticketing offices — to swoop down on unauthorized vendors and ticket canvassers. 

"The intensified checks by the Delhi division led to the arrest of 73 people involved in canvassing tickets, hotels and taxis in the three days since TOI highlighted the problem," said divisional railway manager (Delhi) Anurag Sachan. 

Sachan also admitted that CCTVs in the reservation complex had been made operational only since the reports were published. The DRM said he was personally monitoring the renewed checks and had conducted a surprise check at the IRCA reservation complex in Paharganj. "During this check, the CCTV monitoring room on the second floor was made functional. To further improve monitoring through the CCTV network, I have ordered RPF staff to man the control room round the clock. I have also directed them to provide the CCTV camera feed to the local RPF inspector for continuous supervision of the ticket hall and other passengers interface areas of the IRCA complex," said Sachan. 

The Government Railway Police (GRP) has launched its own drive to take on the touts. 

The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) too said its units were working overtime to tackle the menace and denied that touts posed a major problem to the online booking system. "The media should not blow up a minor incident to portray as if everything was wrong. The supposed hacking incident of the IRCTC website is a figment of imagination and the police could find just 18 tickets procured in this a system that produces 3.5 lakh tickets a day. However, we have even taken this seriously and are working on ways so that no one can circumvent the system,'' said a top IRCTC official. 

The Delhi division of RPF had arrested 61 touts, 1,266 ticket canvassers and 144 unauthorized vendors from April to June this year. Of these, 16 touts and 413 ticket canvassers were apprehended from the New Delhi Railway Station and IRCA reservation complex.