Demonetisation: Railways feel the heat

Mad rush for bulk booking and cancellation of tickets; authorities stop payment on cancellation

Thanks to demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1000 notes, the Mysuru railway station is witnessing a mad rush for booking and cancellation of tickets.  The station witnessed a bulk train ticket booking and cancellation buzzing soon after the ban on notes. Those with an eye to convert their black money into white saw this as an easy means to make their moves. Train ticket cancelation shot by 500 per cent a day in the last week or so. The upper class ticket reservation rose by 300 per cent.

The net worth of ticket booking at Mysuru railway station which is about Rs 4 lakh a day has gone up to Rs 12.5 lakh. Strangely though, tickets that were booked in the morning were cancelled by evening on November 9.  The trend was no different next two days.

Sources from Mysuru railway division told City Today that after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1000 notes, people booked bulk tickets from Mysuru to various distant destinations in the country. But most of the tickets were cancelled within a couple of hours. Modus operandi is simple: Book tickets in bulk using Rs 500 and 1000 notes and cancel them within a few hours and the money you get is all but white.

Following the cancellation of bulk tickets within few hours in stations across the country, Railway Ministry learnt that the railways was one of the easiest means for the black money holders to convert black money into white. To put an end to this racket, the railways have stopped refund on cancellation since few days.

Sources from Mysuru division said, “Tickets can be booked three months in advance and there is enough time for cancellation.  If the tickets are cancelled within the 48 hours of booking, cancellation charge is Rs 60 for sleeper class and Rs 120 for a/c class. If a ticket is cancelled in less than 48 hours from the departure of particular train, then 50 per cent of cancellation fee could be collected.

“In this case, the matter is clear that many people planned their move nicely to convert their old notes. After taking necessary steps, the sinister moves of the mafia has been brought under control and now there are no such things happening here at the station,” sources said.

Not only in Mysuru, but the net worth at various railways stations across the country   rose to 1000 per cent following the announcement of demonetisation.

Ministry of Railways has instructed all its stations in the country to collect PAN card numbers and Aadhar-linked account number from the parties for refund of train tickets cancellation, amounting to more than Rs 10000. This has been brought down to Rs 5000.

Better be aware. There is no refund on cancellation now. At least, for the time being.

-By Manoj N Sharma and Karthik K K

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