Friday, July 28, 2017

By S Lalitha | Express News Service | Published: 26th July 2017 

BENGALURU: For three months, these petty thieves had put the safety of rail passengers at risk as well as baffled the Railway Police by their nocturnal activity of dismantling signal posts along the Bengaluru-Tumakuru railway tracks and selling them in the scrap market. Finally, five of them have been caught recently by a specially constituted Railway Police team and are now in judicial custody.

Speaking to Express, Additional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF) M Ramakrishnappa said this was the first time the Bengaluru Division came across such a theft.
“Seven incidents of theft involving the signal posts of Railways were detected from April to June. Technically referred to as route indicators and signalling covers, they are located enroute the tracks heading to a specific station and the loco-pilot can run the train only when he gets clearance from them,” he said. Signals were found dismantled near Kyatrasandra, Hirehalli and Nidavanda stations.

“The scrap iron found in the signalling covers had been removed and sold to scrap merchants in Tumakuru. We nabbed two scrap merchants and they are out on bail,” said Ramakrishnappa. 
Since all route indicators have ladders attached to them to help staff to carry out repairs, it was easy for the miscreants to scale them.

“All the five are rag pickers. The team had been surveying the route from 11 pm to 3 am and caught them when they were attempting to dismantle a signal,” he said. All of them were found in an inebriated condition, he added.Asked if passenger safety had been compromised, he said the station masters took adequate steps. “Through the indicators on the control panels in the cabin, masters will be able to assess problems to signals and gave commands to the drivers through their internal communication system,” Ramakrishnappa said.The total loss caused to the Railways was Rs 33,200. But these kind of thefts pose a danger to passenger safety, he added.


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