Starting 10 AM today, rail travellers will have a separate two-hour time window until 12 PM to book Tatkal tickets.

This amendment in the Tatkal scheme is expected to minimise the possibility of middlemen cornering Tatkal tickets.

During this two-hour period, only travellers can book tickets both at the counters or through the website .

Agents authorised by Indian Railways to book tickets can book under the Tatkal scheme only after 12 pm. This restriction on agents is applicable both across the counter and through the Internet.

Booking for Tatkal starts at 10 AM on the day prior to the date of journey. For instance, one may book a Tatkal ticket on August 14 for trains departing on August 15.

Earlier Tatkal booking used to start at 8AM leading to a huge strain on Indian Railways’ servers.

Changes in booking

Meanwhile, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), has introduced several changes for booking Tatkal tickets on the Internet.

Individual users are permitted to book only two tickets from 10 AM to 12 PM. Only two tickets can be booked from one IP address between 10 AM and 12 PM.

Users will now be able to open his account to book Tatkal tickets between 10 AM and 12 PM only once. This will enable maximum users to access Tatkal tickets.

IRCTC has disabled the quick book option and cash card option between 10 AM and 12 PM.

To serve the increasing web traffic, railways has installed high capacity database servers and increased the Internet bandwidth from 344 MBPS to 450 MBPS.

It has also installed Captcha, a technology used to prevent automated software from cornering Tatkal tickets by fraudulent means.

Web service agents will now be allowed to book only one Tatkal ticket per train per day and that too only after 12 PM.

Anti-IT fraud squad

An anti-IT fraud squad has been created to detect cases of fraud and to enhance cyberspace surveillance against possible threats to the system.

Agents against whom complaints are received will be blacklisted and their user-id deactivated. A list of such agents will also be put on the IRCTC website.

The railways expects e-ticket bookings to increase from 3.5 lakh per day as on date to five lakh per day in the next four months. It eventually expects the number of e-ticket bookings to increase to about eight lakh per day in the long term.

(This article was published on July 10, 2012)
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