CHENNAI: As an MRTS train picked up speed after a halt, a group of school students clung on to the footboard poles and started to skate on the platform at Taramani station. A few others ran alongside and hopped on and off the running train. This has become a common sight at many of the MRTS stations like Taramani. Though none of the students have suffered injuries, railway statistics show that 200 people have died either due to run overs or fall from trains in the last two years in Chennai division.
Inspite of crackdown and awareness campaigns by Railway Protection Force (RPF), school students doing stunts on MRTS trains continues.
Gautham R, 36, a commuter from Kasturba Nagar said many boys and a few girls who travel regularly on the footboard cause a concern among the passengers. “On Tuesday, I tried to warn a few boys who were running alongside the train as it picked up speed.”
But the boys abused me and continued.
“This is our daily routine, watching school students hanging from the train and skating on the platform” I have been working as a teacher in a private school, and a commuter for the past 13 years, these acrobatics in the suburban trains have only increased over the years, especially when the RPF personnel is off duty, says Latha M, 43.
Several commuters complained that the number of RPF personnel on the platform is inadequate and the announcements made through the public address system are ignored.
Installing CCTV cameras and increasing fines levied may be the only solution, suggested commuters.
“We have been issuing pamphlets and awareness campaigns are conducted, these are students from various colleges and minors. They cannot be arrested. However, The police will be more vigilant in the upcoming days, especially with the commuters traveling in footboards, says Vanitha V, ADGP, Railways.
RPF has identified some of the trouble prone stations and has started to post its personnel during the time when students travel, said a railway officer.