The Indian Railways collected the ticket-related fines reportedly made the coffer richer by a whopping Rs 1,097 crore between April 2017 and February 2018. Of this amount, more than Rs 850 crore was collected by end-December.
Officials think that an additional Rs 200 crore may be forthcoming this month. “We are making it more and more difficult to travel ticketless,” Railway Board Member Traffic Mohammad Jamshed told , adding, “This is a huge amount of money realised from offenders caught through intense checking drives.”
Last month, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain had told the Rajya Sabha that 18.18 lakh checks were conducted by Zonal Railways in the first nine months of the current fiscal alone. All the “ambush checks” and “fortress checks” which involves sealing off the typically porous railway stations with multiple exits paid off, snaring as many as 3 crore individuals travelling without a valid ticket till end-February.
That includes people travelling with tickets in someone else’s name, children without tickets, travelling in the wrong coach, and adults travelling on half-tickets, along with ticketless travel. Shockingly, there’s already been a jump of 50% in the number of such offenders over the previous fiscal.
If caught travelling without a ticket, travellers typically have to shell out the original fare for the journey along with a penalty of Rs 250. The latter is doubled in the case of the premium trains like the Rajdhanis. According to sources, the bulk of the fined populace travelled in the general unreserved class in long-distance trains.
Topping the naughty list were the stations around Delhi – Northern Railway collected some Rs 150 crore from these ticket-check drives, about Rs 46 crore more than the same period the previous year. The report added that Mumbai’s Central Railway, with a predominant suburban rail system, bagged the second spot. It raked in Rs 143 crore in such fines, a jump of around 21 per cent year-on-year.
To put the penalty earnings in perspective, the Mumbai Rajdhani Express, which links Delhi and the commercial capital, would need to run on full occupancy on every trip throughout a year to earn Rs 200 crore.
Despite this windfall of over Rs 1,000 crore – a new record where penalties are concerned – the world’s fourth largest railways is likely to miss its revenue target for this fiscal, for the third year running. Unless, the officials managed to step up their vigilance of the 13 million daily commuters served by the Indian Railways in the past month, and post a new record for penalty collections.>