The Central Railway is running AC local but then they are struggling to keep the windows safe from unwanted elements. Now they have asked their railway protection force (RPF) to carry out drives at locations and stretches where the instances of vandals throwing stones and damaging the windows of air-conditioned locals are high.
According to senior officers from RPF, they had started the drive on the Harbour line in educating people staying along the tracks in shanties; not to throw stones at AC locals. However, now that the Central Railway authorities have discontinued the AC local trains from the Harbour line and shifted them to the Mainline; the RPF will now identify and focus their attention on the illegal shanties and hutments staying on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) – Kalyan Mainline.
“I have asked the RPF to identify the locations and stretches where the incidents of stone throwing is going on. They will educate and also take necessary action on those who are caught for the offence. These AC locals are procured using public money and it is the public property which is getting damaged when the windows of AC locals are damaged. I urge the people from doing this,” said Shalabh Goel, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Central Railway.
According to sources in CR, on the Mainline they have come across areas and stretches on Kurla, Sion, Ghatkopar, Thane, Kalwa, and Mumbra where instances of people staying in illegal huts and shanties along rail lines; are hurling stones at these AC locals which are damaging the windows and times even shatter them too. On the Harbour line these problems were in Chembur, Wadala, Govandi and Panvel; though the CR authorities have discontinued AC local services on the CSMT-Panvel line due to poor response.
Senior RPF officers said that their men are on the lookout for stretches which are notorious for such incidents and these hutments play mischief. Most of these stone-pelters are drunkards or children staying in the slums nearby and frequently there is no malice behind stone pelting. The children mostly take it as a game to aim at the glass windows of these AC trains.
The RPF is also counselling the parents and alerting them about the seriousness of this kind of incident. In addition to that under the sensitization programme, schools near the railway tracks are also being approached and informed about the problem. Apart from counselling and awareness campaigns, cases against offenders are also registered under the railway act.
Since January there have been 23 cases of windows of AC locals getting damaged from stone throwing. This is leading to an unwanted cost of Rs 2.30 lakh spent only on repairing them. While the number of AC locals has been on the rise there has been an increase in attempts by anti-social elements to damage these AC locals.
If the glass is damaged then it costs Rs 10000 to reinstall a new one after replacing the damaged window. Out of the 23 windows that were damaged; only 5-6 windows now need replacement while the rest have been done. The train is also taken to the car shed for repairs which at times also leads to the availability of lesser AC train services on a regular day. At present, there are 5 AC rakes of which 4 rakes are running 56 services every day. Two additional AC rakes are expected in June or July.Mumbai: BMC portal for pet registration functional after FPJ report highlighting pet parents’ complaints