A month ago, when M. Shounak boarded Madras-Howrah Coromandel Express, he found some unreserved passengers sitting outside the toilet. He had to complain to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel to send them back to their respective compartments.
Such instances are common on most north-bound trains, say RPF personnel. “It is extremely unsafe for women passengers. Even if the police chase them away, these passengers return,” said Mr. Shounak. As there have been many complaints about unreserved passengers entering the sleeper class and bogies reserved for the disabled, the RPF has formed a ‘suvidha’ squad. A total of 52 personnel will be part of the squad and they will work in two shifts – 5 a.m to noon and 5 p.m to midnight. “Constables will check tickets at both entrances of the compartment. There will be two constables for each bogie. They will only allow passengers who have valid tickets,” said an RPF source.
The RPF did a detailed analysis of the trains before forming the squads.
“We have identified 22 trains that face the problem of unreserved passengers travelling in reserved coaches. Most of them are trains going to various places, including Kolkata, Puri and Jaipur, from the south,” said an RPF personnel.