Railways Operation Thunder: Pune railway police arrest 8 touts, recover 261 e-tickets

Indian Railway passengers often complain about the unavailability of train tickets while booking on IRCTC website, including tatkal tickets, and tout menace. To rectify the menace, the national transporter conducted raids across the country on the same day.

PUNE: The Pune Railway Police force (RPF) arrested eight persons under the Operation Thunder launched by the Indian Railways to curb illegal ticket bookings.

A statement issued by the Pune RPF stated, “As per the instructions of Railway Protection Force director general, the Operation Thunder drive was started against unauthorised business of e-tickets in Pune division, including Miraj, Tasgaon, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ranjangaon, Shirur and Pune, Pimpri station area, Banergaon, on June 13. Eight persons were arrested with recovery of 261 e-tickets with Rs 4,79,355 and we deactivated 48 fake IDs.”

RPF cyber team was roped in to analyse technical data, reads the statement.

“Operation Thunder is a dedicated effort by the Central Railway RPF in its relentless pursuit of putting an end to ticket black marketing,” said D Vikas, commissioner, Pune RPF.

Central Railway RPF under the instructions of Arun Kumar, director general RPF, launched Operation Thunder to counter the menace of touting of railway tickets.

The national transporter conducted raids across the country on the same day. The crime intelligence branch of RPF in co-ordination with the local RPF raided locations and premises of private travel agencies and passenger reservation system (PRS) centres in five divisions of Central Railway — Mumbai, Pune, Solapur, Bhusaval and Nagpur.

At least 32 cases were detected from 21 private travel agencies and 12 PRS centres in Mumbai (Ghatkopar), Navi Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi, Dombivali, Nagpur, Nashik, Manmad, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Akola, Kalaburgi, Shirdi, Solapur, Pune, Chinchwad, Pimpri and Sangli.

A total of 3,515 tickets, including e-tickets, valued at Rs 68,25,499 were seized and 35 people were arrested. The seized tickets included past journey tickets valued at Rs 62,80,891 and future journey tickets valued at Rs 5,44,608.

Pune-Mum rail route to get 100 more CCTVs

A total of 100 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed on the Pune-Mumbai railway route in the landslide prone areas between Lonavla and Karjat.

The decision was taken by the Central Railway Pune Division (CRPD) after a major train accident involving the Sahyadri Express was averted due to the presence of CCTV cameras on Thursday. A landslide, which caused a boulder to fall on the railway track at 8:15pm, delayed the Mumbai-Kolhapur Sahyadri Express for nearly two hours on Thursday night.

The railway staff who monitored the landslide through CCTV cameras, not only alerted higher authorities, but also ensured that power supply to the overhead equipment was switched off and incoming trains were stopped well in time.

Senior railway officials, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The importance of CCTV cameras was realised when a terrifying accident was averted on Thursday night. Taking a note of this incident, we have decided to install another 100 CCTV cameras in a 22km stretch between Lonavla to Monkey hill and further till Karjat. Currently, the 22km stretch has 43 CCTV cameras installed. ”

This will help us keep a strong vigilance over the entire region and alert the respective trains in case of any landslide well in advance, so that the accidents could be averted in time, said officials.

Along with the installation of CCTV cameras, the CRPD will also be using drone technology to map the areas prone to landslides in this 22km stretch. The work of mapping via drones has been outsourced to a private agency.

Meanwhile, railway authorities are also working on installing safety nets at locations prone to landslides.