Churchgate mishap: WR plans mobile jammers, but women commuters will be hit

The minimum radius that the mobile jammers’ range would cover is expected to be around 20 metres but this will block cell phone networks inside one of the ladies’ compartments

The Railways is creating helpline numbers for women, to ward off safety hazards inside local trains, while they are in motion. But the same entity wants mobile jammers to be installed inside the motorman’s cabin.

The train accident at Churchgate on June 28, wherein the local climbed onto platform no 3. File pic
The train accident at Churchgate on June 28, wherein the local climbed onto platform no 3. File pic

However, there is a disconnect here one of the ladies’ compartments is adjacent to the motorman’s cabin. Sources in the Railways told mid-day that the minimum radius that the mobile jammers’ range would cover is expected to be around 20 metres but this will block cell phone networks inside the ladies’ compartment.

“Usually, the motorman’s cabin and ladies compartment is divided by a simple metal sheet. How much ever we try to concentrate the radius of the mobile jammers, at least 20 metres’ radius will be affected,” said a Western Railway (WR) official, requesting anonymity.

Why jam?
The recommendation of having mobile jammers inside the motorman’s cabin is the outcome of the recent Churchgate accident. During the course of the inquiry, to ascertain what caused the diversion of the attention of motorman LS Tiwari, it was found that he was not using his mobile phone.

However, a guard Ajaykumar Guher had used his mobile phone to make a private call for 187 seconds. Sources said that in the accident report, a panel has suggested that these mobile jammers be installed in the motorman’s cabin to avoid distraction. WR would install the jammers, i.e., if it receives a green signal.

Officials stated that the whole idea of these jammers was to prevent motormen and guards of local trains from talking over their mobiles, when they are supposed to be piloting a local train. The report states, “Mobile jamming device should be installed in cabs of EMUs (Electric Multiple Units).

Random monitoring of motorman calls can be done. Further, guards are permitted to use mobile phones in exigencies only; as such, random monitoring of call details of guards should also be done to check whether calls being made are essential or otherwise.”

A senior WR official said, “Walkie-talkies are available, but we can get in touch with the motorman/guard from the control room. Mobile phones make it convenient for us to talk whenever required.”

Cop speak
The railway police are a worried lot too, because of the obvious impact that these jammers could have on women commuters. “I will have to check with our cyber-cell and other technical experts on this (issue),” said Deepak Deoraj, DCP (Western Railway), Government Railway Police.

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