Booking a train ticket is a big challenge, especially tatkal tickets as they get booked very fast. The tatkal tickets booking are allowed in all train classes except for AC First Class and Executive Class. In order to prevent the activities of touts in booking of e-tickets including tatkal tickets, several checks have been deployed by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) of Indian Railways. Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. PIB India in a tweet said “Ministry of Railways has taken several steps to prevent the unscrupulous elements/touts from booking of e-tickets.”
Here are the various steps taken by the Indian Railways to prevent the unscrupulous elements in booking of tickets:
1) There is a restriction of 2 tatkal tickets per user from 10am to 12 noon.
2) Introduction of random security question for tatkal ticket bookings.
3) Restriction of only one tatkal ticket per day per train to retail service providers (agents).
4) Restriction of creation of only one IRCTC User ID on a given mobile number and email ID.
5) A limit of booking 6 railway tickets by an individual user in a month has been set. This has been enhanced to 12 Railway tickets per month, if users have linked their IRCTC user ID with their Aadhaar number, and at least one of the passengers in the passenger list is verifiable through Aadhaar.
6) Restriction of only one booking in one user login session except for return/onward journey between 8am and 12 noon.
7) Dynamic captcha introduced at three places- registration, login and booking page to check fraudulent booking through automation software.
8) Checks on minimum time required to enter passenger details and display of captcha at the time of e-ticket booking by users.
9) Restriction on authorized agents of IRCTC for booking tickets during first fifteen minutes of opening of Advance Reservation Period (ARP) booking and Tatkal booking.
10) Use of PRABAL query based application for verification of IRCTC IDs to detect the cases of illegal E-ticketing with follow up action.
Recently, Railway Protection Force (RPF) weeded out several illegal softwares and arrested 60 agents who would use them to block such tickets. 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 railways does not allow agents to book tatkal tickets. Booking for tatkal tickets opens 24 hours before the day of travel.
Regular drives are being conducted by RPF against persons/agencies found involved in unauthorized carrying on of business of procuring and supplying of railway tickets. The offenders are booked under section 143 of the Railways Act.