RAILWAY PRINT: Tech tickets after 2012 print wind-up – long time coming ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY MRINALINI SHARMA
Siliguri, Aug. 29: Northeast Frontier Railway has started revamping its printing press at Kurseong and has plans to install a computerised ticketing system at the only facility of its kind that caters for the section extending from Tinsukia in Assam to Katihar in Bihar.
The computerised ticketing system for unreserved ticketing system (UTS) and passenger reservation system (PRS) will, however, take place after the ticket printing section of the press shuts down in 2012.
Currently the unit prints manually generated tickets for the entire NFR zone.
“The railway board has sanctioned Rs 4.30 crore for upgrading the unit. This amount would be used to install machinery and revamp the infrastructure at the press,” Keshav Chandra, the general manager of the NFR, told The Telegraph over phone.
The 62-year-old press has two printing sections.
While the general section prints books, forms and railway passes, the ticket section prints and supplies manually-generated tickets for the Tinsukia, Lumding, Rangiya, Alipurduar and Katihar divisions, under the NFR, and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
“The ticket printing section will wind up in 2012 because manually generated tickets are being phased out,” said Chandra.
The press that was established in 1948 is the only unit in the hill railway section that does not come under the DHR. It is controlled from the NFR headquarters in Maligaon.
Currently, computerised ticketing facility is only available at the Darjeeling railway station.
The move to close down the ticket printing unit at Kurseong had evoked strong protests after it was announced by the Indian Railways in 2008 because it would stop the production of manually generated DHR tickets that are popular as souvenirs all over the world.
“We had submitted a memorandum to the general manager of the NFR with a proposal to upgrade the press on August 5. Chandra surveyed the press and announced the railway board’s decision to revamp it,” said Rajiv Rai, the NFR Employee Union’s joint secretary and an employee at the press.
According to NFR sources, the railway has already removed some of the machinery at the general printing section.
“Around four old equipment have been scrapped and three more which have become obsolete will be removed. These machines would be replaced by offset printing machinery. The press will require three to four such equipment,” the source said.
Almost the entire sum of the sanctioned funds would be used for installing the computerised ticketing machine. “The remaining amount will be used for purchasing offset printing equipment,” the source said.