Parliamentary panel raps Railways on dynamic pricing of tatkal tickets

New Delhi(PTI): Slamming Railways’ move to sell half of itstatkal tickets under dynamic pricing, a Parliamentary panel on Thursday recommended reducing the premium on such tickets to a “minimum essential level” as the system was “legitimising inequality”.

“It is high time Railways institutionalise the concerns of the poor. The committee would, therefore like the Ministry to reduce premium on tickets of tatkal reservation to a minimum essential level,” the Public Accounts Committee on Railways said in its report tabled inParliament on Thursday.

It observed that those who can afford to pay premium as well as those who have access to internet are getting their confirmed berths without any hassles whereas those who cannot are not getting the tickets. The panel also felt that the percentage of advanced reservation is enhanced and that tatkal reservation should be reduced to a feasible and sustainable level in the greater interest of the travelling public. “The system was legitimising inequality,” the committee said.

The committee also suggested that a certain quota restriction should be put on ticket reservation bookings by internet so as to provide a better equitable opportunity for the poor, disadvantaged and deprived classes of society having no access to internet, thus making them available the benefit of ticket reservation in a more fair and just manner. Taking serious note of 24 Rail Travellers Service Agents (RTSA) operating without furnishing any license fee, security deposits and without any liability, the committee recommended an appropriate enquiry against the officials responsible and disciplinary proceedings against them. These RTSAs are operating from railway premises on the basis of injunction of the Calcutta High Court given 27 years ago.

“The committee, therefore, desires details of the measures taken in chronological order to get the stay vacated and steps being taken presently to remedy the situation.” It felt that such blatant flouting of norms may not be possible without the connivance of local railway officials and sought disciplinary action against officials responsible for flouting norms.