NEW DELHI: A railway employees’ union has alleged that on-board ticket checking staffers were being “forced” by officials to illegally issue tickets to ticket- less passengers for travel in sleeper classes to increase earnings, in violation of rules.
In a letter to the Railway Board on January 21, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation said that this was a “blatant disobedience” to its orders. “There are orders from the Railway Board that any passenger found unauthorisedly travelling should be issued ticket up to the next station and then he should be de-trained at the next station, but all the local CCMs (chief commercial managers of zones) are forcing the TTEs to charge them for farthest end to increase the earnings of the railways.
“This is happening in blatant disobedience to the Railway Board’s orders and the TTEs (travelling ticket examiners) are forced to accommodate them in the sleeper class,” it said. The allegations came days after the Railway Board issued a circular on January 19 to all railway zones about complaints of bribes being taken by TTEs from general public for accommodating them in sleeper class.
The letter from the board, which, sources say, has subsequently been withdrawn after the intervention of Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani, had instructed the zones to conduct drives by vigilance officials as well as the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to enquire if passengers were travelling illegally in sleeper classes by “paying some illegal gratification to ticket checking staff”.
The union has taken exception to the letter and said that the ticket checking staffers were pained at being called corrupt and demanded that the letter be immediately withdrawn. “Any such activity, defaming the TTEs as a whole, will definitely not only demoralise them, but also result in industrial unrest. You are, therefore, requested to take action against the culprits but dealing every TTE with the same stick will not only humiliate them but also lead to serious agitations all over the Indian Railways,” the union’s letter stated.
In the union’s letter, its general secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra has also alleged that TTEs are forced by the local officers to meet targets that are not possible to achieve.