Hit by robbers yet again last week, the Pune-Daund railway is considered to be one of the routes most vulnerable to dacoity. The incident took place on June 30, and is the latest in a string of robberies that have made the 68 km Pune-Daund-Kurduwadi section perilous.
About two years ago, taking cognisance of the rising frequency of dacoity, the Pune GRP had proposed adding two new police stations to the route. In the two years since, however, not much progress was made on adding the new police stations, which perhaps may have prevented the later robberies.
“Looking at the increasing number of incidents, we do require adequate man power. As on date, we only have 150 GRP staff who are responsible for the safety of passengers on the 505-km stretch that falls in the Pune railway division,” admitted Abhay Parmar, senior police inspector, GRP.
Now though it looks like the route may get safer, with a confirmation from divisional railway manager Sunnet Sharma, who said that tender enquiries have already been sent out, and the GRP is currently identifying possible locations for the stations.
The Pune-Daund-Kurduwadi section has long suffered such incidents, often attributed to the Phase Pardhi tribe, a community that is thought to be associated with criminal activity. “The section of Pune-Daund-Kurduwadi is unsafe; often the trains have to take long halts due to the signal, as there are no alternate tracks available for trains to pass through the area.
The dacoits are well aware of this, and when trains take halts, these dacoits target the trains,” Parmar added. According to Parmar, it’s not just the lack of manpower or the dacoits’ familiarity with the route that make it vulnerable.
The problem is often exacerbated by unwitting passengers who leave coach doors and windows open during halts. “Passengers disobey our orders after the train halts at intermediate stations. Criminals will make an attempt to target passengers if the doors and windows of the trains are open,” he said.
1. On June 30, a gang of ten dacoits looted ten passengers on the Bangalore-Jaipur Express at Jinti road junction near Daund around 4:20 am. They looted gold jewellery and mobile phones worth Rs 2 lakh, as well as the passengers’ luggage.
2. On April 25, 2012 dacoits attacked Pune-Manmad passenger train near Akolner railway station in the Ahmednagar district and looted 22 passengers and took away Rs 56,000.
3. On April 11, 2012 seven dacoits targeted Pune- Patna Express near Kedgaon on Pune- Daund route and took off with valuables worth Rs 24,500.