Finally, IndianRailways are planning to take stringent against the daemons who are misusing the tatkal system for very long time. ‘TATKAL booking’ is a kind of nightmare to almost every railway traveler in India. The railway reservation system would literally inaccessible between 8 am to 8:15 am and by the time you logged-in you will be ended up with a wait-list ticket which will never be confirmed. Even if you present yourself in front of the passenger reservation system (PRS) by sharp 8am, there is no guarantee that you would get a confirmed ticket, even if you are the first one in the line. Indian Railways suspecting that the Booking Clerk at the counter could be manipulating the system. Since the Authorities eye is in Clerks, the booking clerks at the passenger reservation system (PRS) will now have to think twice before manipulating the system to help agents corner railway tickets under the tatkal scheme.
The Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), the information and technology arm of the Indian Railways, will now generate a PRS account report to give details of the PRS location and the operator ID with the number of transactions per minute between 8am and 8.05am. The authorities would study the report only in the occasions were the Tartal quota is exhausted. The move follows the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, which said, “Considering that the minimum time required to process an application, including keying in the details of passengers in the system, print the ticket, and transact cash would take at least a minute, the fact that the booking clerks could process multiple PNRs at exactly 8 am indicated that the Tatkal booking scheme was being misused.”
CAG suggested that railways should review user ID-wise reports on an ongoing basis for all tatkal bookings taking place during the first hour, especially when the quota is exhausted. These reports should be reviewed regularly and Stringent action should be taken against railway travel agents and errant booking clerks found guilty of malpractices depriving the envisaged benefits to the intended public. Railway managers can use this report to identify such operators and check the transaction details of these operators to ascertain if they are indulging in any malpractice. On the other side, Railways has already taken few steps towards making the system available for all Tatkal users.
- Quick Book option and cash card booking is already blocked between 8am and 9am
- Individual users are permitted to book only two tickets between 8am and 9am
- Railways already started identifying multiple user IDs of a single person and invalidating the duplicate accounts in IRCTC database.
- Access to Tatkal booking on internet by agents has been banned for the first 10 minutes after opening of the reservation
- Carrying of 8 prescribed ID cards made mandatory for Tatkal passengers
But there could be another case where Booking Clerk at PRC can misuse the Tatkal system. In that case the Clerk may process a Tatkal reservation form of which he got through some agent without considering the first person at the counter. Since there is not facility at the counters to record who are in the passenger queue, it would be difficult catch this kind of practice. There are incidents where the Booking Clerk puts a “Out Of Order” notice at the counter but continue working at the machine. Railways has to ensure a ‘tough to break’ system in place to prevent misuse of Tatkal system.