ORIGINAL TICKET WITH PASSENGER BUT SER RESERVATION OFFICE CANCELS MAN’S JOURNEY
By bappaditya Paul
TRAVEL AGENTS DUPING PEOPLE with fake train tickets is nothing new but Indian Railways’ own booking counter cheating a passenger surely is. The South Eastern Railway (SER) reservation counter at Old Koilaghat Building in Kolkata has allegedly cheated a passenger by cancelling his journey when the man still has the original ticket in possession.This led to the passenger paying twice for the same journey from New Delhi to Kolkata. He also failed to attend an important event in Howrah that he was invited to. On receiving a complaint from the passenger, SER’s chief commercial manager (CCM) has now ordered a probe into the matter asking for report within seven days.
According to Mr Fazlur Rahman, a resident of Belurmath in Howrah, he had booked two tickets from counter No. 12 at Old Koilaghat Building around 9 a.m. on 26 October.
Of them, one was for travel from Sealdah to New Delhi by Duronto Express on 6 November (PNR: 633-4903305); the second one was a return ticket from New Delhi to Howrah by Rajdhani Express on 10 November (PNR: 236-4061297).
“The return ticket status was RAC. But when I went to New Delhi railway station to board Rajdhani Express on 10 November, I could not find my name in the passenger chart. I went to the chief station manager (CSM) office and after enquiry they told me that my ticket was cancelled from the same reservation office on the day of booking itself,” said Mr Rahman, a teacher by profession. Both the CSM office staff and Mr Rahman were left puzzled at the discovery because he still had the original train ticket with him. The Rajdhani Express in the meantime departed from New Delhi station and
Mr Rahman was left stranded. “I lodged a complaint with the CSM office and requested them to facilitate me a ticket in some other train departing the same night. They were very considerate and issued me a confirmed ticket on Sealdah Duronto Express. For this, I had to pay Rs 2,035, which is the fare for a 3AC ticket,” he said.
After returning to Kolkata, Mr Rahman tried to unravel the mystery but was unsuccessful. The 43-year-old teacher says that while booking his ticket on 26 October at Old Koilaghat, the reservation clerk had entered his name wrong which he spotted on the counter’s display board and had got the name corrected by approaching the chief reservation supervisor (CRS) although the clerk was averse to the idea.“I don’t know whether the official cancelled my ticket in anger over this.”
Those working at railway reservation counters say that to cancel a ticket a clerk is required to get a cancellation slip filled-in by the passenger and also the original ticket. The clerk retains these and the passenger is issued a cancellation ticket mentioning the refund amount etc.
“On rare occasions, when a clerk misplaces or forgets to retain an original ticket, the CRS of that reservation office is required to mention this in the daily closing statement that is sent to the headquarters. But it cannot happen that both the cancellation slip and the original ticket will go missing at the same time,” said a reservation officer.
The CCM of South Eastern Railway, Mr Suchitto Kumar Das, today ordered a probe into the matter after Mr Rahman lodged a complaint with him on 14 November. “I have asked the CCM (Passenger Services) to probe this within seven days. The truth will surely come out,” Mr Das said over the telephone.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report was first published in The Statesman on 19 November 2014.)