MUMBAI: The Central Railway has decided to file FIRs against those using fake ID cards to travel in local trains which are currently being run in Mumbai only for essential services staff, an official said on Tuesday.
Amid complaints of overcrowding in local trains, Central Railway's (CR) chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar told PTI that they have so far caught 30 people with bogus ID cards and First Information Reports (FIRs) have been filed against two of them.
"FIRs will be registered with the Government Railway Police against those travelling on suburban locals with bogus ID cards in future as well," Sutar said.
Railway officials said they have come to know that some people are making bogus QR-coded identity cards, and are charging Rs 500 to Rs 600 in some parts of the city.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, common citizens are currently not allowed to travel in suburban trains, considered as the lifeline of Mumbai.
As of now, state and central government staff, employees of nationalised and private banks, PSUs, pharma companies and others essential services staff are permitted to travel on the special suburban services, and QR code-based identity cards are mandatory for them.
Railway authorities started operating special local trains for the essential services staff since mid-June and at present, the Central Railway and the Western Railway are collectively operating 923 services every day.
During normal times, over 80 lakh commuters used to travel on suburban locals in a day.
But following the outbreak of COVID-19, common citizens are not allowed to board these trains and hence, they have to rely on other modes of transport like civic-run buses, auto-rickshaws, taxis and private vehicles.
Some local rail activists said common citizens, especially those who have to travel from extended suburbs like Dombivli, Badlapur (in neighbouring Thane), Vasai-Virar (Palghar) and Panvel (Navi Mumbai) were getting fake IDs in desperation because of the poor road transport facilities.
"The commute to far-off suburbs is hellish due to inadequate public transport buses and worst road conditions. People are spending two to three hours on one-way commute," said activist Subhash Gupta.
Some activists also said that the suburban services being operated on the Central Railway route for essential services staff are inadequate and hence, the trains get overcrowded during peak hours.
Thane-based activist Nandakumar Deshmukh said as the local trains become overcrowded between Dadar and Thane stations of the CR route, social distancing norms go for a toss during peak hours.
A video of overcrowding in a local train at Borivali station of the Western Railway recently went viral on social media.