The ticket checking staff of the Western Railway (WR) allege that they are given "unrealistic targets" of collecting penalty from ticketless travellers in trains and rebuked by superiors if they fail to do so.
A WR official, however, said revision of target is a routine exercise, which is done whenever it is found that there is a spike in ticketless travelling.
A staff forum representing the ticket collectors (TCs) alleged that imposition of such a burden affected the morale of the employees and wanted the higher authorities to take corrective steps, failing which they would observe a 'Black Diwali' to register their protest.
The staff association, India Railway Ticket Checking Staff Organisation (IRTCSO), last week wrote a letter to the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Mumbai division alleging that in order to meet the "unrealistic" target, the employees have to often flout the rules.
A TC, on condition of anonymity, said as per the revised target set in April this year, those on duty in peak hours on mail or express trains have been given a target of Rs 8,000 per day to be collected from ticketless travellers while for non-peak hours it is Rs 6,000 per day.
"The target for the TCs deployed in local trains is fixed at Rs 4,000 per day," he claimed.
Another TC said, "Many a times, we need to work extra hours to achieve the target."
"Some of us were called by the superiors and even threatened with transfers to remote locations if we do not meet the target," he alleged.
The TCs have demanded action in the matter, failing which they would observe 'Black Diwali' from October 18 to 23.
When contacted, Western Railway's Chief PRO Ravinder Bhakar said, "The target revision is a routine process and this is revised for the proper and productive utilisation of the staff. When our teams conduct surprise checking and find that the number of ticketless travellers have increased, then the administration issues a fresh target."
Rail activist Rajiv Singal, who has launched a campaign against the errant TCs, welcomed the decision of giving higher targets.
"Rather than crying foul over administrative decision, they (TCs) must discharge their duty properly. They must consider that they are an essential part of the railways," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)