Mumbai Local Trains: Private Workers, Vendors Are Mis-using Emergency QR Code Travel Pass Meant for Govt Employees
Moneylife Digital Team 21 August 2020
Last month, the Central and Western Railway along with the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allowed starting suburban (local) train services for essential workers as identified by state government. However, there are several instances coming to light where employees or workers from the private sector or businesses are found using fake or duplicate QR codes or letters for travelling on these special local trains. Some venders are also found holding such government ID cards. Even today, travelling by local trains is one of the fastest and cheapest mean in Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR). This also explains, why there is a crowd in the suburban trains that too when all other commuters are barred from travelling due to the corona virus (COVID19) lockdowns.
 
The state government, BMC, CR and WR have agreed to run these special services only for essential workers and medical staff. These essential workers are being given an e-pass that has name, photo, designation and employer details on the front and a QR code on the backside.
 
However, since there hardly is any checking being done by the railway staff or ticket checkers, many people have obtained fake cards with QR code and are using it for travelling in the local trains. 
 
   
For example, one person Jignesh Jayantilal Chheda was found travelling on local trains with an ID card that shows he is working in the BMC as computer operator. However, when the QR code of his card is scanned, it shows the name as Sumeet Govind Ravaria and his Aadhar number. This Sumeet is actually the employee of BMC while Jignesh is using this fake card to travel on local train. Jignesh is neither employee of BMC nor the Railways, says an officer from the Indian Railway.
 
 
As per section 170 of Indian Penal Code, personating a public servant or government employee is a punishable offence. The punishment under this section is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
 
As if using fake ID cards were not enough, in other instance, one person is found carrying a letter from senior section engineer from WR, Borivali. The letter recommends to allow this person as he is a contract employee working with WR on emergency duty. However, the person who was found using this letter is not even working with any contractor associated with the WR. In fact, this person, Mayank Dinesh Savla, works as a waiter in a hotel at Andheri and had told the Railway officials that he obtained this letter by paying Rs2,000. This letter whether genuine or fake, is issued on 4 August 2020.
 
 
In another incident, some vendors, who sell plastic items, are found using ID card of BMC. The ID card shows, these people as contract labours working in pest-control department of BMC. When asked, they could not give any satisfactory answers as to how they obtained the ID card or how they can use this.
 
 
While searching on the internet, we also came across lanyards of Indian Railways for holding ID cards being sold on Amazon. These lanyards have official logo of Indian Railways and the name in both English and Hindi printed on the ribbon. So, unless, one checks actual ID card, anyone would assume that the person wearing this lanyard is employee of Indian Railways.
 
 
These incidents are just a tip of iceberg, the railway official says, adding that there could be more than 30% commuters who are using the local trains every day without any authority or with a fake ID card or recommendation letter. 
 
When asked why such things are not prevented by the railway staff or ticket checkers, the officer says, they do not get adequate security from railway protection force (RPF) for carrying out checking. Due to decline in manpower, even the government railway police are not reluctant to catch any culprit or register any case. 
 
Feedback from commuters, who are in the emergency services, also reveals the lack of checks at railway stations. Many of them say, there is hardly any scrutiny of ID cards or QR codes. In fact, they claim, at the entrance of any railway station, the GRPs only check government ID card or the card issued by Railways for emergency travel. They do not even scan the QR code and check if the same person is using this facility.
 
We sent emails to railway minister Piyush Goyal, and general managers of both CR and WR as well as chief minister of Maharashtra. 
 
While the CM’s office replied saying that the matter is forwarded to concerned department, there is no word from the Railways. We will update this article as and when we receive any reply from them.
 
Comments
cvkakatkar
1 year ago
Another funny rule is, all Bankers are supposed to be Essential Service and have to attend to the Bank work. Yet employees of Pvt and Co-operative Banks are not allowed to travel by suburban Trains. Nationalized Banks employees are permitted to travel by trains - but still work from branches near their residence or attend office only for 2-3 days in a week.
If this is the situation in Banks (with organised labour ) imagine the position in un- organised sectors.
rahul.pakhare007
1 year ago
Corona has taken a political turn, it's no more a disease now. I remember H1N1 flu and just similar to these there were many others and deadly diseases, all this have ranked negative and Corona has topped the position, pharmacy sector tops in the market. Gov should now give people a suicide pills if they aren't able to provide resolution, everyone wants to play a game in the name of corona. Please stop all this let people earn and live their life. Let them travel, I'm harrased every other day by recovery people for emi even after taking the moratorium. I lost job coz I can't travel at work due to this stupidity from police and all other gov officials.
dharpure.pravin
1 year ago
Government don't have solution or anything, why only government people have the right to travel in train, why can't a common man travel, we can't spend every day 200 rs for travelling till office, Find some solution and start the train for everyone - I am completely unhappy with this government, The life of common Man is completely messed up
muktaraj4ever
Replied to dharpure.pravin comment 1 year ago
Very true.u r saying absolutely right brother.👍👍👍
vshetty84
1 year ago
Ppl resort to such practise because they dont have any options.. Instead of breaking their heads on qr code system.. Govt could have done some R&D and come out with some sensible alternatives for non essential workers and allow them to use trains.. They can even fix some time slabs to use trains for non essentials..
rohitgaurabhi
1 year ago
its hard to survive these days as local trains are the only source for people to work in mumbai
the only people suffering right now are the private employees
these situations are happening because of people facing economic issues
Normalcy has to be applied soon
rs235m
1 year ago
Maha govt is unable to control COVID and throttling neck of people by restricting movement of people to earn living on their own.
i_sakarwala
1 year ago
Normalcy should be implemented as soon as possible. People are tired of the lock down and want to get back to earning their livelihood . Covid has created a lot of vaccume economically, which comples individuals to take up such ways
iggi.vaz
Replied to i_sakarwala comment 1 year ago
It's time to open up the Local Trains. Why procrastinate? Also, let the Labourers come back by Outstation Trains.
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