It is a legal offense to travel without a ticket by the Indian Railways, but even then people do not desist from doing so. During the last few years, the number of people caught traveling without tickets by the railways has increased rapidly. Along with this, the earnings of the Railways have also increased at a record fast due to the fine collected from such passengers.
Information received from RTI
The number of people caught traveling without tickets by the railways and the figure of fine recovered from them has been revealed in response to an RTI. In a news agency PTI, citing RTI, it has been told that the Railways caught 3.6 crore passengers traveling with wrong tickets or without tickets in 2022-23, which is about one crore more than a year earlier.
Steep increase in train passengers
According to the report, Madhya Pradesh’s social worker Chandrashekhar Gaur had sought answers to these questions from the Railways under Right to Information ie RTI. According to the RTI reply received by him, in the year 2019-2020, 1.10 crore people were caught traveling without tickets or with wrong tickets. Their number increased to 2.7 crore in 2021-22 and 3.6 crore in 2022-23. Whereas, in 2020-21, the year the Kovid-19 pandemic spread, this figure was 32.56 lakh.
Earnings increased so much in 3 years
In response to the RTI, the Railways also gave the figures of the amount recovered from such passengers in the last three years. According to statistics, the Railways collected Rs 152 crore from such passengers in the financial year 2020-21, which increased to Rs 1,574.73 crore in 2021-22 and Rs 2,260.05 crore in 2022-23. In this way, in three years, due to the fine, the earnings of the Railways increased by about 15 times.
These provisions on traveling without ticket
In the year 2022-23, the number of passengers caught by the Railways without tickets is more than the population of many small countries. If caught, the ticketless passenger has to pay a fine of at least Rs 250 along with the actual cost of the ticket. On being caught, if a passenger refuses to pay the fine or does not have enough money, then in such a situation a case is registered against him under Section 137 of the Railway Act and he is handed over to the Railway Protection Force ie RPF.
Shortage of passenger trains responsible
There is another side to this whole matter as well. Passengers often complain that they are not able to get tickets, due to which many times they are forced to travel without tickets. Railway statistics show that during 2022-23, about 3 crore passengers could not travel due to non-availability of confirmed tickets. These 2.7 crore passengers had taken tickets, but due to non-confirmation, they could not travel. This shows that there is a shortage of trains on many busy routes in the country.
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