Sunday, 17 August 2014

Over 1,000 caught travelling illegally in disabled coaches

MUMBAI: In a major crackdown on illegal travellers in the coach reserved for the disabled, the RPF lodged 1299 cases in the past fortnight on the Western line and recovered Rs 4 lakh in fines. The highest number of cases were recorded at Andheri (441 cases), followed by Mumbai Central (173 cases) and Borivali (155 cases).

NGOs have long complained of the problems that commuters with disabilities have to face due to illegal travellers. A delegation of activists had met police commissioner Rakesh Maria to inform him of the increasing number of plainclothed cops travelling in coaches for the handicapped. Maria then came out with an order that apart from action under the Railway Act, a cop found guilty of this offence would also face departmental action.

"Cops bully disabled commuters, abuse them and often block the entrance to the compartment. There have been instances where a disabled commuter has had a bad fall while attempting to alight or board the coach. Instances of chain-pulling are also reported the most in coaches for the disabled as genuine commuters travelling in them are left with no other choice," said an activist.

The RPF conducted a crackdown between August 1 to 15 on the Western line. "Some of the commuters caught travelling in the disabled coach argued that they possessed tickets. But they could not produce anything to confirm disability," said an official.

Offenders were booked under section 155 (A) of the Railway Act. The section provides for a penalty of Rs 500. Activists have demanded that the fine be increased to at least Rs 2000 so that it serves as a deterrant.

Cases lodged in the fortnight long drive against illegal travel in coaches for the disabled

Churchgate: 18

Mumbai Central: 173

Dadar: 63

Bandra: 82

Andheri: 441

Borivali: 155

Bhayandar: 61

Vasai: 123

Others: 183

Total: 1299 illegally in disabled coaches,Mumbai Central



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