CHENNAI: Even as train punctuality, track maintenance and safety of passengers are keeping the railway officials on toes, the emergency alarm chain in trains has allegedly been turning a bane for the Railways since it is pulled frequently for trivial reasons.
From January 1 to June 30, the emergency alarm chain was pulled 744 times for the reasons which it was not meant for, said an official statement from the Southern Railway. The reasons for which the chain is pulled are that co-passenger could not board train, mobile phone and some belongings fall down, passenger who gets down to purchase eatables en route could not board the train, and passenger oversleeps and misses destination.
The train in which alarm chain is pulled has to be detained for a considerable time (minimum 30 minutes) for resolving the system. “Such a detention affects the running of the subsequent train services also, putting the passengers of other trains to hardship,” said the Southern Railway.As many as, 738 persons have been booked for pulling the alarm chain without any valid reason and Rs 2.8 lakh has been collected towards fine.
The Southern Railway has a track length of 5,018 km, covering Tamil Nadu, Kerala, a part of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the Union territory of Puducherry and it operates about 1,292 trains a day.While warning of stringent action, the Southern Railway has urged the rail passengers to desist from using the emergency option without justifiable reasons.
“On-board railway staff such as train captain, TTEs, RPF train escorts and coach attendants can be approached by passengers for addressing issues. The services of RPF Security Helpline 182 which is functional round the clock can be used.
“The GRP Helpline 1512 can also be accessed for security-related assistance and passengers can also contact 138 for grievances,” added the statement.
Pulling of alarm chain without a valid cause is a punishable offence under Section 141 of the Railways Act, 1989. The penalty will include imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of Rs 1,000 or both.