During festivals and rush seasons, it is almost impossible to get railway tickets as they are sold in black by touts with the alleged connivance of railway officials. Several such cases have been detected over the last few months during surprise checks at reservation offices conducted by railway surveillance officials.
Touts involved in black-marketing of tickets at the Bengaluru railway stations will soon have to contend with a hi-tech surveillance system, which the railway officials claim will put an end to the menace of touts. In a first, the South Western Railway (SWR) will install CCTV cameras with facial-recognition system (FRS) at Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna and Yeshwanthpur railway stations.
Railway sources said that touts reserve spots by making their men stand in queues outside reservation counters at major stations from midnight to grab tatkal tickets and deprive genuine travellers, who spend sleepless nights trying to get confirmed tickets.
“I was shocked that the Railways knew it and did nothing. Travellers had been protesting against inability to book tickets on busy routes and during festivals. Hope the new initiative helps people,” said Mr Varun Rao, a regular commuter.
Face-recognition software stores facial data of visitors at railway stations, keeps track of those who frequent the counters and use it as evidence to book cases against touts.
The Railways will also install hi-tech CCTV cameras at stations to improve security. A senior railway official said, “At present, KSR station has 70 normal CCTV cameras. We will install 150 more hi-tech CCTV cameras, of which 50 will have face-recognition system. Similarly, Yeshwanthpur station has 35 normal cameras and we are adding another 50, including 25 with face-recognition abilities. These hi-tech cameras will be installed in a month or two.”