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Staffers detained, bag sanitisation stops at railway stations

The incident, which occurred on Monday morning, ensured stoppage of baggage sanitisation for all passengers until evening.

Published: 05th May 2021 06:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2021 06:46 AM   |  A+A-

Volunteers from an NGO distribute food and water to passengers waiting for trains at the City Railway Station in Bengaluru on Tuesday | Shriram BN

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Five individuals manning the ultraviolet baggage scanners at Yesvantpur Station and KSR Railway Station were hauled off to the Government Railway Police (GRP) station by Additional Director General of Police, Railways, Bhaskar Rao. It later bore out that it was due to unfamiliarity with procedures in place for passenger safety. 

The incident, which occurred on Monday morning, ensured stoppage of baggage sanitisation for all passengers until evening. The scanners were installed to assure passengers that any Covid infection present on baggage would not be carried into trains. 

Just like other railway divisions, Bengaluru Division too launched UV baggage scanners as a safety measure. KSR Railway Station has two scanners, one launched a week ago near the passenger reservation office, and another on Platform 8, launched six months ago. Cantonment and Yesvantpur stations too have a scanner each. 

“It was free of cost initially, to popularise it with the public, but now this is a paid service. It costs Rs 10 per baggage,” a top railway official said. The sticker ‘Optional’ is put up on the scanners.Street Wall Ads Pvt Limited was given the contract at Yesvantpur and KSR stations. Rao, who visited the station on Monday and saw the scanner, felt the public should not be charged for it during the pandemic, said individuals familiar with the matter. 

The three staffers in charge were detained at the GRP Station on Platform 6, as were two staffers from Yesvantpur station. “They were detained from around 10 am to 5 pm and not allowed to even step out for food,” a source said. 

Railway officials had a tough time convincing the ADGP that this was a contract entered into in writing with a private party, and had the approval of the Railway Board. They produced physical documentation as proof.

Asked about it, Rao conceded that he had stopped the scanning. “They were charging Rs 10 per baggage when it should have been optional.” When pointed out that the word ‘Optional’ referred to scanning and not payment, he said, “I was not intimated about this system by anyone.” The ADGP also said that it was being operated though the liquid in the scanner had run out. “The scanners use only in-built ultraviolet light and not any liquid,” said a person familiar with its working.



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