During a train journey last week, the TTE (Travel Ticket Examiner) in the 2A (AC 2-tier sleeper) coach was collecting the fare difference from passengers who had purchased their tickets before the announcement of the 14.2% fare increase (effective from June 25, 2014).
A few passengers, including me, gave the TTE the exact amount. To the other passengers, the TTE was returning slightly less than the correct amount of change. For example, if he had to return Rs. 35, he was returning only Rs. 30. He did not offer any explanation and the passengers did not question him. This happened in my presence to 3 passengers. I was surprised that these passengers did not question the TTE. They had confirmed tickets, and had nothing to lose by asking him for the exact change. Since they appeared perfectly capable of fighting their own battles, I resisted the urge to speak up on their behalf.
After the TTE left, I confirmed from the 3 passengers that the TTE had indeed short-changed them. After confirming that their tickets were in their own names, and they had the necessary Identity Proof, I asked them why they hadn’t questioned the TTE. They just smiled sheepishly. One of them said, “It was only Rs. 5.” The other 2 nodded.
Why don’t we speak up? Why do we tolerate corruption even when we have nothing to lose by speaking up? Why don’t we understand that the only way to stop corruption, or to reduce it drastically, is to show zero tolerance to corruption?
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