With the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Maharashtra government and the local trains still not open for the commoners, many people are seen getting using fake ID cards of medical, hospitals or essential services from local DTP centres and Xerox centres to commute in the local trains, considered the lifeline of Mumbai.
Sidharth Desktop Publishing Centre in Borivali closed its business overnight because they were flooded with demands for fake ID cards. When asked the centre owner how they create these bogus cards he said under the condition of anonymity, “We download different logos of utility services from the internet, they have all their details online. The contact authority, address and number. We design tentative I-cards for those firms and sell them. It depends from time to time, but on average we charge Rs 1000 per card. People are jobless and panic, commuting is a problem, they don’t mind investing Rs 1000 for that travel permit.”
Similarly, Vinayak DTP centre of Mumbai suburban said, “We get raided, but bribe bails us out. They also know how people are helpless and they are not travelling for fun.”
There are regular ticket checking activities at railway stations. Many passengers get caught at various stations with a forged Identity Card. During the course of questioning, most of them are fined and left. Hundreds of persons are carrying these fake emergency passes for travelling.
Many individuals were nabbed at Borivali station for carrying fake ID cards issued by the same agent. The agent was arrested and is now out on bail. In another checking activity at Mira Road, another person detained with a suspicious ID card confessed to obtaining a fake ID card of cleaning staff of BMC at the cost of Rs 1000 and has been handed over to the GRP after cross-examination.
Indian Railways’ Western Railway (WR) zone has said that some people are using fake ID cards to travel in the local trains in Mumbai. All these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg and Western Railway is trying its best to unearth this big scam. At present Western Railway runs 506 special suburban services for Essential Services Staff as notified by the Government of Maharashtra.
Looking at the present scenario of the pandemic, WR has said that only specific essential staff categories as notified by the Government of Maharashtra, should travel in these special suburban services. However, in the latest development in this regard, Western Railway has detected several cases of fake ID card holders who have been travelling in the special suburban services.
Total 4,555 cases of without ticket and unbooked Luggage cases have been detected and an amount of Rs. 23.24 lakhs have been recovered as a penalty. Indian Railways started the operations of the suburban services in Mumbai on 15 June only for the specific essential staff categories as notified by Govt. of Maharashtra.
According to a railway official of Western Railway zone, “On an average, daily 20 cases of dubious/suspicious ID cases have been detected and penalized every week. Indian Railways’ Western Railway zone has detected several cases of fake ID card holders who have been travelling in the special suburban services in Mumbai.