Generally, how safe is your berth?

Published on Jan 28, 2006 12:23 AM IST

WHY THE passengers travelling in general compartments are vulnerable? This is the query that props up in our minds when we look back at the recent gory incidents that had taken place on trains. The passengers travelling in the compartments are the victims of dacoity, murder, rape, loot and drug-and-rob, despite the fact that these coaches are jam-packed.The situation in these coaches is such that around 300 passengers are, literally piled up on each other.

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None | ByHT Live Correspondent

WHY THE passengers travelling in general compartments are vulnerable? This is the query that props up in our minds when we look back at the recent gory incidents that had taken place on trains. The passengers travelling in the compartments are the victims of dacoity, murder, rape, loot and drug-and-rob, despite the fact that these coaches are jam-packed.

The situation in these coaches is such that around 300 passengers are, literally piled up on each other. The children are seen trampled upon by ruthless co-passengers. The scene is more common in the long-distance trains, where the passengers do not even find space to walk to answer nature’s call. And even if some manage to make it, they cannot get into the toilet as it already occupied by the passengers and luggage.

What is more pathetic is that the railways do not have any solution to the problem of the passengers. However, when it comes to slapping fines and charging them for over load, they are the first. “Not a single TTE entered our compartment to check tickets,” said Narain, who was travelling from New Delhi by Gomti Express. Leave apart the TTE, even the cops did not enter the compartment, he rued.  Sometimes the innocent passengers have to bear the brunt of the men in olive green. The Army and para military jawans too exercise their muscle powers on the gullible passengers. The incidents of Armymen involved in throwing passengers out of the general compartment are testimony to these. Pramukh has been regularly travelling in general compartment up to Amritsar to earn his living. “Many a time we are cheated by the people in the guise of railwaymen or by the vendors,” he lamented. What is more gruesome is that these passengers do not have any identity. In case of any mishap the passengers are not identified, and the investigating agencies dump the bodies as unknown and unclaimed. “We are broadly identified in two categories ticketless and with tickets,” said Hariram.

The fact remains that this section of the passenger in Indian railways happens to be one of the biggest profit-making segment for the largest public sector.

“Seats in other compartments are limited, but in the general there is no limit for issuing the tickets,” said a senior officer in the Northern railway. He advocated that a system of ‘no room’ should be introduced in the general compartments to encourage safe journey.

On being asked about the problem, the Chairman Railway Board J P Batra said there was nothing much the railways can do in this regard. However, he accepted the suggestion of limiting the issuance of tickets in the general compartments.

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