The plan to create a massive database of Mumbaikars by collecting addresses of suburban railway pass-holders has hit a hurdle. The initiative was aimed at helping security agencies prevent crime.
While the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) — the railways' top information technology agency — has finished creating the mechanism that will allow suburban booking terminals to include the pass-holder's address as one component, railway officials said nothing can be done for the Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs).
While the role of ATVMs in dispensing passes is not very significant either on Central or on Western railway, officials said the fact that the railway board wants ATVMs to take over ticket dispensing in a big way in Mumbai could create a problem in the near future. Currently, around 5 per cent of all tickets on Western Railway's suburban system and 19 per cent on Central Railway is dispensed through ATVMs. The number of passes is still lesser, said officials.
However, in the coming few months, while CR will be adding 400 ATVMs to its existing set-up of 300 ATVMs, WR will purchase 490 ATVMs to add to its 80 ATVMs on line.
"It's a good system that the Allahabad high court has suggested and we should be following it completely. So, CRIS should tackle this issue as quickly as possible because in the next few months the usage of ATVMs will go up. And a small hitch should not allow a good recommendation to go waste," said an official.
A CRIS official said that so far the organisation has not got any intimation from railways to configure ATVMs to take in addresses while issuing passes, but he added that if need be, they would work out a solution.
As reported earlier by dna, these developments have happened after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had asked the railway board to get all its zones to add address, name, gender, age of pass-holders to its computer database and to share them with security agencies like the railway police and the Railway Protection Force.