Railways suffers huge loss due to misuse of free passes
PATNA: Gallantry award winners, MPs and freedom fighters enjoy facilities of free railway passes. They are entitled to travel in AC-2 and AC-3 classes with one attendant each in any train. Since the number of journeys is not limited for them, they can avail themselves of free journey as many times as they wish in one calendar year on free railway passes.
Detection of misuse of free railway passes allegedly by many of them has, however, put the railways in a very tight spot. Cases of passengers impersonating as freedom fighters or gallantry award winners came to light during an intensive ticket checking drive undertaken recently by the Railway Board vigilance sleuths across the country.
According to sources, a former MP booked his ticket on three different trains for the same destination on the same day. An IPS officer serving with the railways booked two berths from two successive stations for the same destination on his privileged free railway pass with a view to getting a coupe for himself. A fake freedom fighter was found travelling in the AC-2 class in a premier train from Patna Junction, sources said.
These are the glaring instances of gross misuse of free railway passes by these privileged persons. During a massive ticket checking drive conducted recently across the country, it was found that gallantry pass holders alone accounted for travelling worth Rs 1.5 crore every day in the country. Needless to say about freedom fighters undertaking journey by trains almost every day, said a Railway Board official, adding this malaise has been more prevalent in UP and Bihar.
A ticket checking squad was recently stunned to find several police officials travelling as attendants along with their constables on the free passes issued to gallantry award winners. “The squad reported the matter to the vigilance wing of the board, a senior official of the board said.
According to Railway Board sources, the board cancelled about two dozen free railway passes of freedom fighters following complaints against them regarding alleged misuse of free passes.
According to railway vigilance reports, several freedom fighters or gallantry award winners are reportedly carrying fake attendants on free railway passes. “Unless the railways initiates stern steps to check fraudulent misuse of free passes by these people, it would continue to suffer a huge revenue loss every year,” a board official said.
A lot of defect need to be removed from railway system and action from Railway Board New Delhi Required.