Sunday, August 10, 2014

The great train robbery: Theft on Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, 3rd day in a row

Sunday, 10 August 2014 - 6:10am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Another robbery on the Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express early on Saturday morning, the third in a series of robberies, has left the railways red-faced.
The train leaves Mumbai Central around 4.30 in the evening and reaches New Delhi the next day around 8.30 in the morning.
Who's the passenger and what did she lose?
Nidhi Agarwal, from Navi Mumbai's Khargar, (A4, 27), lost her handbag with Rs6,000 in cash, a mobile phone, a tablet, and jewellery.
What about security on the train?
"It is atrocious," Agarwal said. "This is a premium train and there are no policemen or Railway Protection Force personnel on board. Even the ticket-checking staff do nothing but plead helplessness when they are confronted."
What is the rule?
Rajdhani is the only train that doesn't have any RPF men on board. Other trains are escorted from one state to another by an RPF personnel or police party consisting of four cops.
Does the railways take any precautions?
Nothing. Agarwal said she asked the train staff to "close all doors so that no one gets off the train till it reaches New Delhi". "While I was told that at Delhi all exits will be manned by cops, nothing of that sort happened. It is very inconsiderate on the part of the railways."
Which is the cursed stretch?
It is between Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh and Kota in Rajasthan, sometime around 12.30am-3.30am, when passengers find their bags and valuables stolen. After Kota, the next stop is New Delhi.
The past incident
Saturday's incident comes a day after CR general manager SK Sood's wife found her handbag stolen. She was in A3 when her handbag containing cash, debit and credit cards and a gold bangle, was stolen.
Was it on the same stretch?
Yes, the train was between Ratlam and Kota.
What does the railways have to say?
Most robberies happen in 2nd AC coaches because of curtains; that help robbers, an official said. 3rd AC ones do not have curtains.
What steps has the railways taken?
In Mumbai, WR divisional railway manager Shailendra Kumar called a meeting on Friday afternoon of all travelling ticket examiners (TTEs) posted on both the Rajdhani and the August Kranti to give them a long list of dos and don'ts.
"This is a very serious issue. All TTEs have been ordered to keep tabs on passengers and to check if anyone is getting off the train midway. They have been asked to take an active part in the security of the train and ensure the safety of passengers," Kumar told dna
Any change in security plans
In the wake of these thefts, the RPF plans to deploy some personnel in the Ratlam-Kota stretch when the train moves from Mumbai to Delhi and in the Ratlam-Vadodara stretch on the Delhi-Mumbai leg.
Is there any insurance
There is no concept whatsoever of insurance on the railways even if a passenger is travelling with a confirmed ticket on any class. There is something called 'railway's risk' — somewhat similar to insurance when one is transporting valuables like gold etc. But it involves too much paperwork and passengers generally avoid going for it.
In fact, trains, stations too are not insured.
What are the Allahabad HC recommendations on commuter safety
Addresses to be noted down of all season pass-holders
Railways should expedite work on an All-India helpline number on the pattern of the US's 911 or the European Union's 112. The number should be a maximum of three digits
Rail employees on trains such as ticket examiners, coach attendants, catering staff should be trained to help the RPF, if need be. Security agencies should be given short range weapons instead of obsolete 303 rifles.
The HC has asked railways to get cracking on people boarding reserved coaches with general or season tickets. Use sections 145, 147, 155 and 162 of the Railway Act, its says
Two berths in any sleeper coach should be given to RPF. The railways has allotted one seat (S1, 63)
A mike should be fitted near alarm chains for passenger to talk to guards who in turn will speak to security personnel, should the need arise

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