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Bribe on trains

I was shocked but perhaps it was natural for the TTE. I boarded Azad Hind Express at Jharsuguda for Kolkata on 23 January 2008. My ticked in AC 2 Tier was confirmed. There were three other people. TTE came and checked my ticket. The three people gave their second class sleeper tickets for reserving birth in AC 2 tier. I could gather that they had been permitted by TTE to board the train.

TTE made the receipt for one passenger and asked him whether the agent had told him what amount was to be paid? The passenger said that he had paid Rs. 100 to the agent and agent had told him to pay another Rs. 100 to the TTE. TTE retorted that agent would never tell this as TTE fee is Rs. 200 per ticket. He further said that the agent was a trustworthy person and knows all TTEs in this division and has their mobile numbers. Passenger then paid him Rs. 200. Other two passengers were traveling together. They gave TTE Rs. 400. During this period another passenger came and asked TTE to make his receipt also. TTE told him to go to the seat and wait for him there.

These passengers told him that now they will be frequently visiting Jursuguda and would be needing reservation. They asked for the mobile number of the agent and were duly provided by the TTE. He also gave them his mobile number and name. Everything was settled to everybody’s satisfaction and TTE moved ahead to serve other passengers.

Jharsuguda is fast developing in to an industrial belt. Many big industries have come and more are coming. Suddenly there is a big rise in passenger traffic from and to Jharsuguda. Most of the people need instant reservation. For this they need the agent and TTE. The agent was earlier asking Rs. 25 per ticket but now he charges Rs. 100. In case of more people the rates go high as much as Rs. 1500. People are willing. These passengers said they have to travel on short notice and need instant reservation, and for this they do not mind paying bribe to agent and TTE.

Bribe giving and takiing has become an essental part of life of Indian people. But at times it hurts genuine people. One passenger told me that at one time a very senior persom from one company wanted to travel. His staff officer told TTE that my boss had to travel at any cost. There was no vacant bearth in AC first class except two RAC berths. The big man was accomodated on one and another big man from another company on the other. Both genuine passengers entitled for berths in AC first class had to travel in AC 3 tier. They were flatly told that they have a choice, travel in AC 3 tier or not to travel.

Jai Lalu Prasad ki jai. Earlier TTE will ask the passenger to come with him and there they will settle. But this time I found TTE to openly asking for bribe and was given. Then there are touts earning big money.

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