The number of persons involved in offences described under the Railway Act on trains and railway premises has seen an upward trend in the past three years in the Southern Railway.
As many as 1,15,160 people were arrested under 24 Railway Acts by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in the Southern Railway between January 1 and December 31 in 2017, as against 1,10,948 people recorded in the previous year. In 2015, the number of arrests stood at 1,08,513. The data were revealed by the Ministry of Railways before Parliament recently.
The Southern Railway has jurisdiction over TN, Kerala, Pondicherry and parts of AP.The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has been empowered under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act to arrest and prosecute offenders related to railway property.In addition to this, RPF personnel have been empowered under the Railway Act to arrest and prosecute offenders involved in offences specified under 29 sections of the Act, which are related to alarm chain pulling, unauthorised hawking, touting, trespassing, travelling on roof and foot-board, travelling of male persons in coaches reserved for female passengers etc.
While the data revealed more number of persons involved in the offences on trains, RPF officials attributed the trend to increasing patronage for train services and strict enforcement of the Railway Act.
“Of the total cases booked by RPF, nearly 90 per cent have been booked under the Railway Act for various violations including foot-board and trespassing of tracks,” said a senior RPF official.
He added that both Tamil Nadu and Kerala had been witnessing huge transport demand for trains. “Compared to the number of passengers travelling in trains, the offences are marginal in two states,” added the official.In addition to this, to improve the safety of rail passengers, 111 CCTV cameras will be installed in Tamil Nadu stations under Nirbhaya Fund, said a statement by the railways.
134 railway bridges to be renovated
To improve the safety of train operations, the Southern Railway plans to execute repair and renovation works of 134 railway bridges across the zone at a cost of `276.12 crore. According to an official statement, railway bridges are inspected at least twice a year, one before the onset of monsoon and another after the monsoon. The repair works involve both strengthening and rehabilitation of railway bridges and it is a continuous process being undertaken as and when warranted by their physical condition as ascertained during these inspections. “A proposal has been approved by Railway Board to take up renovation and rehabilitation of 134 bridges across the railway zone at an estimated cost of `276.12 crore,” added the statement.