The sea always returns what it takes, but not the railways. At least that is what millions of people who travel on Mumbai’s local trains everyday seem to believe. A recent Central Railway (CR) survey showed that less than 10 per cent of those who forgot their belongings on local trains, came back to claim them.
CR authorities, too, say they are tired of storing so much of luggage over the years. In the 2012-financial year, for instance, railway authorities in the Mumbai division received 817 lost pieces of luggage, but only 123 passengers came back to claim their belongings. Similarly, in 2011-12, of the 669 pieces of luggage that landed up at the Lost Property Office (LPO), only 79 were collected. “If our staff find any unwanted bags in the train or station premises, they first check if it’s safe and then submit it to the station master’s office.
After a panchnama is done, it is sent to the LPO,” said an officer from the Central Railways. “However, we can only keep a big piece of luggage for 30 days. After that, we take no responsibility for it,” he added. On an average, three lost baggages land up at the LPO every day. Passengers though say their complaints never bear any result as their belongings are not traceable.
Hence, they don’t bother to pursue the case after a few days. Sunita Pawar, who misplaced her purse in January while traveling between Kalyan and Mumbra never got it back. “I lost all my credit cards, my railway pass and cash. I got down at Thane and realised I had lost my wallet. I called up the railway helpline number immediately and registered a complaint. But they never got back,” she said. When contacted, Atul Rane, Chief PRO, CR, said, “There are different reasons why passengers sometimes do not come to retrieve lost luggage. In many cases, they are not sure where they misplaced an item.”
Are you alert?
Meanwhile, following the purported Indian Mujahideen terror tweet, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has issued a notice requesting railway passengers to alert authorities in case they find any suspicious object at the station or inside a train. “We have pasted posters at different locations in the railway premises. In case passengers find any suspicious objects around them, they should immediately call the helpline number and inform us,” said Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, CR.