Rlys to give first chance to tatkal waiting list

In this festive season, the common man's quest for a confirmed train ticket is made almost impossible by a new rule of the Railway Board that gives preference to tatkal tickets over those in the general waiting list.

After a lot of internal debate and conflicts which saw the railway bureaucracy divided in opinion on the new rule it was decided earlier this year that whenever the capacity in a popular train gets augmented by addition of extra coaches, the berths will be given to ticket-holders in tatkal waiting list. Only after the tatkal list has been exhausted, if at all, will the general waitlisted tickets, booked months in advance, get in. The rule came into effect through an official circular in May.

During the prevailing festive rush of Diwali and Chhath, from October 10 and November 20, the Railways has rolled out 60 special trains to popular destinations, over and above the existing ones. Four hundred extra coaches are being attached every day to Rajdhanis, Shatabdis, Durontos during this period. Railway officials confirmed that in these coaches, tickets waitlisted in tatkal were accommodated first, which means that majority of those who booked months in advance in the general waiting list were denied. Currently, the general waiting list for popular mail/ express trains is running into hundreds.

Sources said that during discussions, the Finance and Commercial directorates of the Railway Board held that as a commercial organisation, the commitment to tatkal waiting list should be greater because tatkal booking is costlier than ordinary booking. In these times of financial crunch, this argument could not be ignored. "As per rules, the length of the general waiting list and past booking patterns serve as the basis for authorising extra coaches in trains. Due to the new rule, those who booked way in advance cannot benefit from it," said a railway official.

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