CHENNAI: Concerned over the deaths, including many natural deaths, on railway premises and platforms, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has begun ‘Operation Dignity’ to identify destitutes, mentally disturbed and runaway persons. They hand them over to organisations that help return them to their families or rehabilitate them.
Officials have found that from 2014 till November 2015, over 15 per cent of deaths on railway premises and platforms in Chennai are natural deaths. Under this mission, dedicated teams would survey railway premises every 15-30 days. Those found loitering and begging on the platform would be removed, while those who were destitutes and unstable would be handed over to NGOs, said officials.
Senior Divisional Security Commissioner KK Ashraf told Express that 500 deaths were reported in 2014 and till November 2015, of which 15 per cent was deemed to be natural deaths (people dying of illness such as heart attack).
“So we launched Operation Dignity through which we have rescued over 300 people loitering on the platforms and handed them to NGOs for rehabilitation,” Ashraf added.
On Saturday alone, 15 people were rescued from Chennai Central railway station who were sent for rehabilitation. “The NGO will re-unite them with their family after tracing their house address,” said V Mohan, RPF inspector at Chennai Central.
S Vishwanathan, a staff of Daya Sadan, an NGO that helps rehabilitate most of the mentally unstable people who come down for jobs but later exploited by their employers, said “They go into depression and they often loiter on railway platforms without money to go back home. After treatment, they recover and tell us their addresses. That is how we re-unite them with their families,” added Vishwanathan.
Railway platforms have become a shelter for people from North India, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and various parts of Tamil Nadu, added the officials.