Thursday, February 28, 2013

Theft of rail tracks in Chhattisgarh: Railways, RPF pass the buck

RAIPUR: In a biggest case of theft, rail tracks worth about Rs one crore of South East Central Railway (SECR) went missing from Janjgir-Champa district in Chhattisgarh.

The theft of railway tracks, which were lying at two different places near Hasdeo Bridge and Sone Bridge, was noticed by the authorities on Wednesday. Railway authorities here say that this could be the biggest ever theft in the railways.

According to the sources in SECR, at least two railway patrolmen, Khubul and Sonthlal, were dismissed from their services for the negligence while another transferred. Top railway officials are puzzled as they suspect involvement of scrap dealers, steel manufacturers, touts and even some Railway Protection Force (RPF) staff in the theft.

The first theft was reportedly done in December last year from Hasdeo Bridge, Champa where nearly 106 rail tracks with 13 metres of length were stolen. The second theft was done on January 21 of 18 rail tracks between Saragaon and Baradwar stations from Sone Bridge.

Talking to the local media persons, P Tiwari, in charge RPF, Champa said the railways have dismissed two gangmen after the issue came to light. "The investigations are underway. These gang men belong to low grade profile who are supposed to walk 18 kilometers while they are on duty and they can't be solely responsible for the theft," he said and did not rule out the possibility of involvement or knowledge of railway officials in the theft.

"Rail tracks were recently being auctioned in the said areas which provide the contractors, the necessary documents to pick the tracks from particular place. Taking advantage of the documents, those contractors could also have been involved in stealing away the tracks lying in open. Even steel traders and scrap dealers are suspected to be involved," Tiwari said.

Railway officials say that RPF is yet to register a formal case in the matter.


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