If your daily commute is speckled with locals making unscheduled stops or unreasonably exceeding the duration of the halt, it’s not always the fault of the railways.
According to the railway statistics, in the past couple of months 10-12 chain-pulling incidents have been reported on an average from the coaches reserved for physically disabled people. The handicapped pull the chain to drive out regular commuters who jump on to the invitingly spacious coaches reserved for them. The trend is catching on.
The Railway Protection Force officials admit the recurrent pulling of chain is winding them up. “They (the handicapped) pull the chain as if it’s meant to stop trains casually. Most chain pulling cases are registered from their coaches. When we visit the coach, we find that it was done due to some unauthorised passengers boarding the train or something like that,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
In the months of January and February, the Central and Western Railway authorities registered 24 cases of chain pulling from handicapped coaches. Officials said the number is surging by the week. The RPF has requested passengers that instead of making dilatory stops, they should call them on its helpline, so their staff can arrive and solve the problem quickly.
In defence of the physically challenged, Jitendra Karelia, president, Disability Advocacy Group, said, “We are forced to pull the chain. Handicapped passengers are not able to get down due to the rush of unauthorised passengers. Instead of complaining, the RPF should restrict them from entering our coaches.”
He also said that there calling the helpline is a pointless exercise. “We call on the helpline numbers and the unauthorised passengers get off before the RPF staff arrives to help,” said Karelia. He was adamant that he and his group memberswould not stop pulling the chain till the RPF restricts normalcommuters from boarding ‘our coaches’.
Anil Sharma, CR chief security commissioner, said, “If handicapped passengers are facing problems, they should call the helpline instead of pulling the chain, which causes inconvenience to all the other passengers in the train.” Mahim Swamy, WR chief security commissioner, said, “The chain pulling system is for emergencies. But if it’s being done for reasons that are not genuine, we will have a talk with the passengers and ask them not to do it unless absolutely essential.”
RPF helpline: 1311
GRP helpline: 9833331111