Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stone-pelting, a challenge for Railways

Renuka Phadnis
Wednesday night’s stone-pelting on the Golden Chariot, the luxury train carrying the Chief Minister’s entourage, in Mandya is not the first such case that the South Western Railway is dealing with.
The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, which owns the Golden Chariot, was at the receiving end on Wednesday. But, a mindless distraction for minors has turned into a challenge for Railway authorities, as it reports at least one incident of children throwing stones at passing trains in Bangalore every month.
Reported mostly in densely-populated areas on the city’s outskirts, stone pelting incidents have left passengers and loco pilots injured besides damaging window panes in coaches. These incidents have been occurring mostly in Nayandahalli, Banaswadi, Malleswaram, Whitefield, Hebbal and Yeshwantpur.
Sunanda Arul, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore, South Western Railway, said a month ago, 10 windows of a train on the stabling line were broken. She said, "There is a need to sensitise people that it is public property they are destroying."
On Thursday, the Railway Police Force detained three children for stone-pelting but let them off after counselling them.
"Ninety-nine per cent of the offenders are minors. We cannot arrest them," S. Louis Amuthan, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF), said.
The force had launched RPF Mitra Yojana last week. "We want to involve children in door-to-door campaigns to educate people not to throw stones at trains," he said.
C. Sunish, General Secretary, All India Loco Running Staff Association, said, "To protect loco pilots, engines must be fixed with movable grills and toughened glass."


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