Amidst rising complaints about misuse of the railway's Tatkal scheme of booking tickets, a revised scheme with additional measures to check the lacunae will come into effect from today under which passengers can book Tatkal tickets from 10 am instead of 8 am, the day before the journey from the originating station.
The revised scheme comes in the backdrop of increased number of complaints from train passengers about the misuse of the scheme and involvement of touts in cornering bulk of tickets to sell them at a premium.
No authorised agents, including agents of IRCTC and others, will be allowed to book Tatkal tickets from 10 am to 12 am from counters as well as from Internet. There will be separate queues and counters for Tatkal buyers.
"No normal ticket will be issued during this time unless there is no passenger for the Tatkal tickets," an Eastern Railway release said.
While some zones will be operating separate counters for Tatkal tickets, others will be issuing tickets from the same counters but will provide only Tatkal tickets through these counters between 10 am and 10.30 am.
Measures such as installation of CCTVs in major booking centres, barring booking clerks to carry mobile phones inside counters, display of helpline numbers for complaints, raids by the vigilance squads to prevent misuse of Tatkal facility have been taken, a railway official said.
Earlier, advance reservation period of Tatkal scheme was reduced from two days, excluding the day of journey, to one day.
An IT-Anti Fraud Squad has been created. A complaint cell has also been set up. One can email or call these numbers: firstname.lastname@example.org (011-23745962) or email@example.com (011-39340000).
Refunds are not granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets except in case of special circumstances like late running of train by more than three hours and cancellation of trains.
Duplicate Tatkal tickets are not issued under normal circumstances. "In exceptional cases, duplicate Tatkal tickets can be issued on payment of full fare including Tatkal charges," the official said.
Railways have also initiated steps to augment e-ticket handling capacity of its website through short-term and long-term measures.
The present e-ticket capacity is being increased from existing about 3.5 lakh bookings to around five lakh bookings per day in about four months, which will further be increased to about eight lakh bookings per day in the long term.