Maru Sagar Express attack shows Railways yet to improve safety measures in Kerala trains, stations

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Kozhikode: Attack on Parappanangadi resident Devadas in Maru Sagar Express by a fellow passenger last night indicates that proper safety measures are yet to be implemented in Kerala trains despite the Elathur train tragedy in April, earlier this year.

People high on alcohol and other drugs continue to be a nuisance on platforms and inside trains. “The Railway Police and the RPF fail to fulfill their duties," said miffed passengers.

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Miscreants often get into trains without tickets, creating trouble for other passengers.

While the Railways claim that they have allotted one TTE for every 5 compartments to take stock of the situation, in reality they are seen rare, especially on long distance trains.

Travelling in the general compartments at night often turns into a nightmare for passengers.

As per the information received, the only major development after the Elathur train mishap was the appointment of 8 RPF officials from Chennai to Elathur and Koyilandy. They closely monitor the situation and often conduct search operations in uniforms and 'mufti'.

When it comes to the safety of women passengers, measures announced after the Soumya murder in the Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger train back in 2011 are yet to be implemented.

Claims like CCTV cameras in all trains and railway stations, and strict vigil by police, never became a reality. At present, CCTV cameras are installed only at the major stations like Shoranur, Kozhikode, Thrissur, Kannur, Ernakulam, Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram.

It shouldn't be a surprise that none of the recommendations made as part of the ‘Meri Saheli’ initiative by the Railways, for ensuring the safety of its passengers, have been implemented successfully. Many stations and their adjacent roads even lack proper lighting.

Displaying the centralised helpline numbers issued by the Railways for passenger safety in every station and railway coach will be a step in the right direction.

“Have submitted a request to the Railway Minister for ensuring the safety of passengers,” says CE Chakkunni, working chairman of the Confederation of All India Railway Users Association.

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