Every day the Indian Railways carry millions of passengers in the mail/express and suburban trains; the long distance passengers sometimes need retiring rooms at their destination points to stay for the night when their train reaches at late hours and usually when that place is new for them. These retiring rooms, AC and non-AC and even multi-bed dormitory, can be booked at the ticket collector's office at any given station, under payment of specified charges.
But sadly, it is not so easy as it should be! There's widespread corruption in every station regarding availability and booking of retiring rooms. However, a bed in dormitory is usually available without any corruption involved in the process.
What happens? The railway staff engaged in booking available retiring rooms, will usually present a tourist with a standard reply that there's no retiring room available. And they'll say that as soon as you express your desire to get a retiring room, they'll make not single second's delay in telling you that. They'll not even care to look into their availability chart before giving that reply.
But why? It's simply because booking of these retiring rooms give them a nice opportunity to make some extra money. You're right, I am talking about bribe. If you see they turned you back but gave a room to another tourist who came after you, please don't be surprised, that tourist got the room by paying extra money.
Government's charges for the railway retiring are nominal. Last April, at a station in North Bengal, a non-AC room's charge was Rs. 50 per head. I was allowed with four passengers in a double-bed non-AC retiring room. No, I didn't have to pay anything extra! At the first instance they told me there's no room available, but later when I went away, they called me from a distance - only because they saw an elderly lady with me. But, during the last few years, I haven't been able to obtain any AC or non-AC retiring rooms in many stations across India.
What really happens? Is all of it under corruption? NO. A few rooms are always kept on the hold for higher class railway officials who are traveling. Though, there's no rule to do that. Then, rooms are also kept for friends and relatives of influential persons, i.e., people traveling in VIP quota. On the whole, there's hardly any luck for the normal passengers.
There is vigilence department to look after all these wrongdoings. But, hardly of any use!