Touts continue to hold our rail travel hostage.
THE tout menace is in full force in the national capital. Despite legislation such as the Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourists Act and various drives by the Delhi police touting proudly continues to raise its corrupt head. And it seems to have a vice- like grip on the railways.
Thanks to a nefarious nexus between booking clerks and TTEs, touts are ensuring buying a tatkal ticket is next to impossible. Estimates suggest they earn between Rs 1,000- Rs 2,000 a ticket -- big bucks in these busy summer months when everyone is travelling.
Such a problem makes our politicians look ridiculous. There is talk about bringing black money back from foreign shores, but if you cannot contain corruption, despite having legislation and many police drives in the national capital, then all one can say is that such talk is cheap. The UPA had enforced this law way back in 2010 and four years on -- these touts seem to have taken over the functioning of the railways, as far as tickets go.
Most people will say here why does it matter? So I pay a little more who cares? The problem is that it makes people lose faith in the system -- if this tout menace continues -- measures like Tatkal will become a thing of the past. Secondly, this is tourist season and blatant corruption especially in the sector of transportation makes our nation look bad. Other nations have done their bit to make travel a delight through their nations. Of particular delight here are the railways, which is an ideal way to view the country. In India though, the tout menace has helped ruin that delight for many people.
Finally, one must remember that a lot of people rely on the railways.
From the small businessman to Class XII students visiting Delhi or Mumbai for an exam -- the railways are essential travel. This is why the government and the authorities must leave no stone unturned to combat the menace. Only then can we truly call ourselves 'developed.'
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