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Railways in a fix to address issue of people holding season passes

Saturday, 24 May 2014 - 6:45am IST | Agency: dna

Allahabad HC recommended authorities to make database of addresses of season-pass holders

Railway authorities in the city are unsure of how to go about implementing an Allahabad high court recommendation. The high court recommended that they make a database of the addresses of people holding season passes on the suburban system.

The problem, according to officials, is that there is no way to verify whether the address a person tells the booking clerk while purchasing or renewing his season pass is the right one. Since the suburban railways is the most common form of transport in the city with no entry-level limitations, there are scores of people who have passes but have no proof of residence, said officials.

"There are slum-dwellers who have passes but cannot show any proof of residence. So, what do you do except taking the person on face value. Asking for proof like Aadhar or ration card is out of question because we cannot verify it. So, the fact is that it is currently an impasse," said a senior railway official.

The railways, with its inadequate infrastructure for this kind of verification, felt the heat a couple of years ago when it found that thousands of Izzat passes — passes meant for people with a monthly income of less than Rs1,500 — was being openly misused and being bought by people who were financially well-off but had managed get an income certificate from the local MLA or MP.

In fact, one of the areas where the maximum number of Izzat passes were sold was the Malad-Kandivli belt, with almost all the people possessing such passes having income in excess of the railway stipulation.

The other problem the railways has identified is that ticketing queues across the city would lengthen because of the time consumed in taking down the addresses. "It takes a person upwards of 10 minutes to get a ticket even at the smaller stations. The address bit would add another minute or two to it," said the official. The city has over 45 lakh season-pass holders.

As reported earlier by dna, the Allahabad high court had asked the railways to build such a database as a safety measure so that the railway police as well as the Railway Protection Force (RPF) could use it for crime detection.

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