Diwali-Chhath travel: RPF blocks 2,800 tickets booked through touts, arrests 528 people

In a stern message to railway ticket touts and passengers, the railway police blocked over 2,800 tickets booked through unauthorised agents for travel during Diwali and Chatth Puja, and arrested 528 people, a senior official said on Monday.

Railway Protection Force Director General Arun Kumar also said the Indian Railways' campaign between October 26 and November 4 resulted in blocking of 2,801 tickets worth Rs 70 lakh which were booked through touts.

During the drive, 15,426 used tickets worth Rs 2.51 crore were also found.

He said 528 people were arrested while 27 are absconding.

"This is a continuous drive against touts. All e-mail ids where more than 14 tickets have been booked over a period of three months have been scrutinised. We have realised that this has become a business, a parallel market. This needs to be stopped," Kumar said.

He said that blocking these tickets which have been booked through illegal means was a way to warn the public against getting their tickets done by touts.

"We want to tell them to get their tickets from authorised dealers only", he said.

During this drive, 2,720 personal email ids were found to be used for touting, 519 cases were registered, 65 regional service providers blacklisted and 59 arrested, he said.

A committee has been formed consisting of four officers - one each from the IRCTC, CRIS, RPF and the commercial department -- to monitor these drives, Kumar said.

Sources also said that the RPF has proposed an amendment to Section 143 of the Railway Act to increase the fine for illegally sale or purchase of tickets from the present Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000. The section also has a six month prison sentence.