COIMBATORE: Train passengers have suggested for a gradual implementation of huge fines on passengers for littering station premises and tracks; they suggested organising awareness programmes and issuing warnings as well as reducing the fine amount before implementing the National Green Tribunal's order to fine offenders `5,000. There are also practical difficulties, they say.
Slapping a fine of `5,000 on passengers for littering would face many hurdles, said a railway police official. "Most rail passengers travel with a minimum amount of cash with them. Those who travel short distances will not have amounts like `5,000 with them. They will not be able to pay the fine on the spot. Another issue is whether the passenger can be imprisoned if the fine is not paid," he said.
"A proper system should be put in place if the order is to be implemented as it would lead to problems for the passengers. The passenger may feel that it would be harassment in some cases," he added.
A private company employee, Sambath, who regularly travels by train, said, "There are not enough dustbins in railway stations. Even the available dustbins are kept at points which are inconvenient for passengers who would be in a hurry to board the trains. They will not be able to use them at such times. Besides, the majority of passengers would not be able to pay such huge fines."
He suggested that the fine amount should be reduced for effective implementation. "A passenger can fined `500-`1,000, based on the seriousness of the violation. This would be accepted by the passenger," he added.
The Coimbatore Railway Users Welfare Association suggested that the Railways should conduct awareness programmes before implementing the rules. The implementation should be gradual.
"Immediate enforcement will put poor rail passengers in difficulties. Gradual implementation would be better," said association president Jameel Ahmed.
He also called for several types of awareness programmes to alert rail passengers regarding the rules before slapping huge fines for littering.
"Frequent announcements should be made in railway stations about the fines along with the announcements about train arrivals and departures. Offending passengers should also be given warnings for a few months before fines are actually collected. If someone violates rules deliberately, they should be fined heavily," he said.