Illegal travel in coaches for disabled rising

THE Central Railway and Western Railway have recorded a steep increase in the number of unauthorised commuters boarding compartments reserved for the disabled and cancer patients this year. While the CR recorded 118 per cent increase in the number of unauthorised commuters, WR recorded an increase of 67 per cent.

While data on the different categories of offenders is not maintained by Railway Protection Force, officers said women from second class compartments, religious groups, railway and police employees are found to be the most frequent offenders.

In 2010-11, RPF caught 9,782 people for boarding compartments for disabled commuters on CR. In 2012-13, till November 30, 21,358 people were caught for the same. While RPF caught 11,305 people on WR in 2011, the numbers rose to 18,890 this year.

Rajendra Rupnawar, senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF WR, said, "We are conducting intensive checks in addition to regular drives that are carried out to prosecute unauthorised people travelling in compartments

reserved for the disabled."

To deter unauthorised people from boarding coaches for disabled, stringent punitive measures are required, Railway and RPF

officers said.

Presently, offenders are prosecuted by the Railway Court and fined upto a maximum of Rs 500 under section 155 A of the Railways Act, 1989. However, officers are of the opinion that if a second class commuter is caught travelling in such compartments, then instead of levying the difference in fare as per the second class ticket, the difference of fare as per first class travel should be charged to substantially hike the fine amount.

Alok Bohra, senior DSC, RPF CR, said, "There are continuous efforts to prosecute unauthorised commuters. People should be sensitive to the problems of disabled commuters and cancer patients and refrain from boarding compartments reserved for them."

priyal.dave@expressindia.com

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