Railway takes steps to make tatkal booking available for longer

Based on inputs by Meeta K

Passengers will get more opportunity to book Tatkal tickets will be available for passengers now as the railways has blocked out several illegal softwares and arrested 60 agents. These agents used the softwares to block such tickets , a top railway official said.

Railway Protection Force (RPF) Director General Arun Kumar said the software cleansing exercise means Tatkal tickets, which would earlier vanish within minutes of opening of the booking, will now be available for passengers for hours.

Those arrested include a Kolkata-based person with suspected links to Bangladesh-based terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JUMB). In January, the RPF DG had said an e-ticketing racket with suspected links to terror-funding and money laundering was busted.

Illegal softwares such as ‘ANMS’, ‘MAC’ and ‘Jaguar’ would bypass the IRCTC’s login captcha, booking captcha and bank OTP to generate tickets, while a genuine user has to go through all these processes.

The booking process for a general user usually takes around 2.55 minutes, but those using these softwares could do it in just around 1.48 minutes, they said.

In last two months, the RPF has nabbed around 60 illegal agents who were booking tickets through these softwares, making it virtually impossible for others to get Tatkal bookings. “As of today, I can say that not one ticket is being booked through illegal softwares. We have plugged all the issues that we had with the IRCTC website and also nabbed most of those who were top operators of the softwares,” the RPF DG said at a press briefing.

With the arrests, Kumar said most of these illegal softwares, which used to generate business of ₹50 crore-100 crore annually, have been blocked.

Booking for Tatkal tickets opens 24 hours before the day of travel.The IRCTC’s ticket booking section reflects the impact of the railways action as it shows a jump in the availability of Tatkal tickets across the board.

The move has created an impact. For example, Tatkal tickets were available for two minutes for the Magadh Express, while for February 10, they were available for over 10 hours after the bookings opened on February 9, 2020.

In other instance, on the Swatantrata Senani Express, on November 16, 2019, the Tatkal bookings lasted for just a little over two minutes, while on February 8, it lasted for more than an hour.

“This position has been taken from different zones and we have seen that the Tatkal tickets are available for longer. We are still monitoring other softwares which can be used to book tickets and will move on them as and when they try to book tickets illegally,” said Kumar.

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