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Indian Railways Jansadharan ticket scheme fails to click


Railways Jansadharan ticket scheme fails to click from: :http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Railways-Jansadharan-ticket-scheme-fails-to-click/articleshow/14872481.cms The much-hyped Jansadharan Ticket Booking Scheme (JTBS) of the Indian Railway, formulated to make available prepaid unreserved ticket counters to unemployed youth, is turning out to be a big failure.

The announcement of JTBS was made in 2006-07 budget by the then railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. The basic idea was to end long queues at the railway stations. However, three years after the scheme came into being, it is turning ineffective.

In Nagpur division of Central Railway, 50% of the JTBS counters have closed down and those functioning are becoming unprofitable ventures.

Of the 12 JTBS in Nagpur Central Railway, 6 have closed down. The situation in South East Central Railway (SECR) is also not far better. Of the 8 JTBS, only four are functional. A couple of them did not open.

In Central Railway, JTBS were set up in Betul, Dhamangaon, Pulgaon, Nagpur, Wardha and Hirdagadh.

In SECR, senior divisional commercial manager (SrDCM) Pradeep Kumar said, JTBS did not start in Chhindwara and Tumsar. In Balaghat, it was closed after complaints. Gondia, Wadsa, Chanda Fort and Rajnandgaon are doing well. "We have invited applications for 44 more locations," Kumar added.

However, when pointed out most of the JTBS were running into losses, Kumar said, "Our JTBS are located in rural parts where people are reluctant to pay even an extra rupee. Besides, location of counters also matters," said Kumar.

Why the JTBS is becoming a failure? Ajay Advani, who had a counter near Nagpur railway station, says it closed down as no steps were taken to create awareness among the passengers by the railways.

"We were allowed to take one rupee extra per ticket. Passengers feared whether we were real ticket sellers or not. Hence, they preferred to buy from the station counters. I could not make business despite my counter being located opposite railway station," Advani said.

Advani added his expenses towards employees salary, power and Internet bills were more than receipts and hence he decided to wind up. "I used to sell 5-6 tickets daily whereas expenses were Rs200," he added. Of the five JTBS in Nagpur, only two are working. However, Nagpur Central Railway PRO PD Patil claimed three JTBS were still functional in the city.

However, some JTBS closed down as owners say there is no technical support from the railway. A section of JTBS owners alleged that it was pursued by commercial department employees to buy second-hand systems that were withdrawn from towns where JTBS counters were closed down.

"Owing to a second-hand system, I'm facing frequent failures, affecting ticket sales. In a month, the counter is closed for 15 days. Railway officials say they are helpless. My expenses exceed income and hence there is no point in operating the JTBS," an owner said.

Another JTBS owner SB Hande says network and system failure is the biggest problem. The railway should allow us to sell platform tickets because every other passenger is accompanied by a relative who wants to see-off the passenger.

"As we cannot sell platform tickets, passengers prefer to buy both from the station," Hande said.

On the contrary, Patil says, "Our contract conditions are very clear. We only provide server connectivity to the JTBS owner. We are in no way responsible for the system failures. Such failures affect the railway too."

However, Patil admitted that JTBS have been closed down were due to poor response.

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