Recently, seven persons were arrested in Andhra Pradesh for hacking into the passport application software of the Hyderabad Regional Passport Office. The arrested included passport agents who were fraudulently booking slots for registration of passport applications. The agents were able to jump the que and ensure that their clients got priority in the passport issue process.

It was good that the AP Police identified the fraud and arrested the persons responsible.

 Now, it appears that an investigation is due on the IRCTC system which handles the railway reservations.

Statistically, it may be tested and observed that the IRCTC system is either completely down or partially un available to public between 8.00 am to around 8.20 am each day. There is a very conventient technical explanation to the observation that the rush to use the system at this time is larger than what the system can handle since this time coincides with the time for “Tatkal” booking.

However, it is our surmise that there is a likleyhood of a fraud similar to the Hyderabad Passport Office fraud. The possibility is high that the systems are taken over by a set of booking agents and relesed only after their work is over.

The undersigned has already given an e-mail complaint to IRCTC authorities in this regard who have not responded.

What is required now is for the  Government to order an enquiry and study the ticket booking pattern between 8.00 am and 8.30 am each day and identify if there is any skewed pattern noticable.

In case the enquiry clears ITCTC, then IRCTC should take steps to increase the capacity of the servers or otherwise ensure that the system is active during the time 8.00 am to 8.30 am for the public.

Otherwise, public are being denied the Tatkal Reservation facility

One solution I suggest is to reserve the 8.00 am to 8.15 am slot only for the public and not allow the agents to use the slot for their booking.

Can IRCTC respond?


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