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Monday, December 3, 2012

Travel by Rail ~ Identity proof compulsory for all Classes from 1st Dec 2012

It is mammoth in operations with crores of people using it.. it is the Indian Railways, the Government owned and operated network.   From the first train in 1853 from Bombay to Thane, Railways have come a long way indeed.  You might wonder that people till late 1980s had only one way of buying a ticket – standing in the long winding Queues to have reserve their tickets.   During those days, there were quotas-specific for Stations.  One can infact send message and MO to the station to reserve their return tickets too.

Indian Railways have always been adept in utilizing technology ~ the Computerisation of Railway tickets is a great hit.  It was a technological marvel which allowed people to stand queue irrespective of destination or origin but still have their tickets booked for their travel.  Railways came out with Reservation counters in many places which eased congestion, though there were crowds in all these Reservation counters. There would be couple of counters where people can enquire; electronic message boards were also made available.

Then came another techno-marvel; online booking which really eased and brought in great convenience.  Without standing in queues, one can buy ticket in the comfort of their Office and home, make the payment by credit cards and take a print-out for travel.  They were required to carry proof-of-identity to ensure that there were no bogus passengers.   Indian Railways went one step further when they notified that passengers need not carry their printed tickets at all ~ possessing the SMS or the e-mail with details of ticket including the Name of passenger; Train No; date of travel; PNR No. ; Origin and Destination station – would suffice; no need to have a print-out……

However all passengers who have an e-ticket were compulsorily required to carry original proof-of-identity.  Effective, 15th Feb 2012, passengers who had booked tickets from Computerised Passenger Reservation Counters or through Internet (E-tickets) for travel in AC 1st Class, AC II Tier, AC III Tier, AC Chair Car and Executive Classes were compulsorilye required to carry any of the prescribed proofs of identity in original during their journey. Passengers are required to produce their proof of identities as when required failing which all the passengers booked in that ticket will be treated as without ticket and charged accordingly.

Now comes the all important notification which is being portrayed by some sections as causing undue hardship to the commuting public.

From December1,  all passengers travelling in any reserved class are required to carry  an original identity proof.   Those without identity proof will be treated as travelling without ticket and attract a penalty equivalent to the ticket fare, according to a Railway release.

This is an initiative to further facilitate the travel of bonafide and legitimate passengers and to reduce the scope for misuse of reserved ticketing system by unscrupulous elements / middlemen.   Thus effective 1st of Dec 2012, the proof of identity condition gets extended  to the remaining reserved classes also such as Reserved Segment of Second Class (2S); Sleeper Class (SL); III Economy Class (3E)  and  First Class (FC).     The list of approved identity cards is extensive and are :
1.Voter Photo Identity Card issued by Election Commission of India.
3.PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department.
4.Driving License issued by Regional Transport Authorities.
5.Photo Identity Card having serial number issued by Central / State Government such as:- (i)Pension Pay Orders (PPO) (ii) Ration Card with photographs (iii) Senior Citizen Cards (iv) Below Poverty Line (BPL) Cards (v) ESI Cards with photograph issued for taking treatment in ESI dispensaries. (vi) CGHS Cards with photograph issued to individual family members of Central Govt. employees.
6.Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognized School/College for their  Students.
7.Nationalized Bank Passbook with photographs.
8. Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph.
9. Unique Identification Card “Aadhaar”.
10. Photo identity cards having serial number issued by Public Sector Undertakings of State /      Central Government, District Administrations, Municipal Bodies and Panchayat Administrations.

As is understood, any one of the passengers booked on a PNR for undertaking a journey in any reserved class has to produce the proof of identity.  Though there could be some chaos an difficulty at inception, this measure should be welcome as eventually, it will go a long way in curbing bogus travel and agents / touts booking tickets and later selling them at a higher price, especially at the time of festivals and the like.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd Dec. 2012.  

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