CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has the dubious distinction of being ranked fourth in the country when it comes to theft and encroachment of assets of the Indian Railways.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report released on Thursday refers to the cases registered by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) all through 2016 under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act. Railway goods sheds, coach terminals, major stations, tracks, loco sheds, electrical units and other buildings are unsafe and unprotected in the State, the report said.
Out of 81,310 cases registered by the RPF, there have been 81,187 convictions. In addition to this, 329 cases were registered under Indian Railway Act which imposes penalty for littering, urinating and footboard travelling in trains in 2016.
The number of cases booked by the RPF in 2016 rose by 7.6 per cent, compared to the previous year. A total of 81,639 cases were registered, compared to 79, 853 cases in the previous year.
Interestingly, the State is ranked behind Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra has the dubious distinction of being top when it comes to stealing railway properties. A total of 2.23 lakh cases under Railway Protection (Unlawful Possession) Act were registered, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with 1,23,969 and 98,506 cases respectively.
NCRB records reveal the lack of safety to railway properties despite a dedicated police force to protect it, while railway officials argue that the conviction rate is high and properties have been recovered in many cases. But then there are challenges including lack of security personnel at the railway establishments and absence of surveillance through CCTV cameras.
“Many important railway locations including major coach yards and maintenance centres places do not CCTV cameras. In addition, the Railways had been carrying out track doubling, electrification and new line laying works in several sections. These sections also became soft spots for theft incidents,” explained an official.
3,23,007 Maximum number of cases for investigation reported in TN. This was topped by Kerala at 4,61,233 and comes just above Gujarat, which had 3,19,680 cases during 2016.