The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has blocked more than 4.4 lakh user IDs and 71, 484 e-mail IDs since March, following illegal and unethical practices while making e-ticket bookings, stemming from them, reports The Times Of India. The user IDs will no longer be able to log in and book e-tickets. It had also busted an online ticket fraud, which involved some agents who were found using a software to make automated ticket bookings in bulk. The cyber crime cell had recently arrested the distributor of the software.
According to the report, the railways has increased its cyber surveillance and is now randomly calling users on their mobile numbers to verify their user IDs. If they are unable to provide a satisfactory response, their IDs are suspended.
After IRCTC started restricting agent IDs from making bookings between 8am to 9am, it was found that many of them started creating and using user IDs meant for end-customers for bookings, specially for Tatkal tickets. IRCTC has taken a number of measures to prevent bulk bookings, and to ensure that end-users are able to book tickets. It has restricted the number of tickets that an individual user can book in a day to two, and in a month to ten. Also, it has taken steps like introducing random captcha inputs, during the booking process, to prevent automated bookings.
It had also reached out to cash card operators, including ITZ Cash, asking them to take action against franchisees who are found indulging in malpractices. ITZ Cash had issued a warning to its franchisees following the same and had taken action against erring franchisees. We had also learnt from sources that IRCTC is not allowing Tatkal ticket bookings through cash cards during the one hour block period, in the morning.
Like we said, taking action against touts and blocking illegal booking agents is only one part of solving the problem, IRCTC needs to make the entire process more user friendly, and ensure that its servers are able to handle heavy traffic.