: Two months after starting an ambitious drive to apprehend rooftop travellers by photographing them and alerting the teams posted at major railway stations, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) called it off, starting June, due lack of personnel.
Until May this year, 14 people have been electrocuted while travelling on the rooftops of trains. In 2015, 16 people died in this way.
In a bid to curb rooftop travelling, the railways had been taking pictures of those who did so and appointed special teams at railway stations to arrest them. According to statistics, rooftop travelling is the second largest cause of railway accidents, after track-crossing.
The RPF has now shifted its focus to hawkers and transgenders who harass passengers. “The workforce is focusing on complaints related to hawkers and transgenders. As there has been a rise in the number of hawkers and transgenders at stations, there are fewer personnel to identify and apprehend rooftop travellers. So, the drive has been stopped,” said Sachin Bhalode, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (Central Railway).
The drive began on April 10. Since rooftop travelling was mostly seen on the harbour line, stations were identified and teams of four to five RPF personnel were posted there to apprehend them.
The picture was then uploaded on a WhatsApp group — especially formed for the purpose — and the team was informed of the location of the offender. The RPF personnel would then arrest the rooftop traveller.
RPF officials said the drive was effective and the number of incidents had down drastically. The RPF apprehended as many as 141 people in April and 109 in May during the drive.
Most of the offenders were reported from Govandi station, the RPF said.