Local train commuters who take advantage of the December 6 crowds and do not bother to buy a ticket while on their way to pay tributes to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at Chaityabhoomi in Dadar will not have it easy this time.
There has been enough deployment of ticket-checking staff by the Railways this time to cope with the surge of people making a local train journey to and from Dadar on Mahaparinirvan Din.
Announcements are also being made at regular intervals at stations asking people to buy tickets before boarding a train.
It has been observed over the years that a majority of commuters do not buy a ticket for their journey on the day lakhs of people from across the country arrive in the city to pay homage to Ambedkar.
“It has been the case every year that passengers take us for granted as shortage of ticket-checking and security staff makes it difficult for us to inspect so many passengers,” a senior railway official said on condition of anonymity. “To avoid any untoward situation, we don’t force our staff on this particular day to ask for tickets. But this time the rule will be followed as on any regular day.”
If the railway authorities are to be believed, this time they will be deploying enough ticket checkers as well as security staff at railway stations. There are 1,200 ticket checkers with the Central Railway for both suburban and long-distance trains.
On the three crucial days of December 5, 6 and 7, there will be deployment of staff in large numbers at major stations, especially at Dadar station.
As Chaityabhoomi is in Dadar, most people get off the train at Dadar station.
On the Western Railway, of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) staff strength of around 1,100, the deployment at Dadar alone is 112 personnel.
“Dadar will be the busiest station on that day (December 6) and so we have put maximum staff at Dadar station, and other stations will also monitored by the remaining staff,” a RPF official on the Western Railway said.
At nearly 2,000, the Central Railway RPF strength is more than that on the Western Railway, and most of its personnel will also be stationed at Dadar station.
The Government Railway Police has a strength of 3,500 in Mumbai Division. Overall, there will be more than 6,500 security personnel deployed at railway stations and platforms to manage the crowds and prevent untoward incidents.
Central Railway general manager Subodh Jain said, “We will be making announcements asking people to buy tickets before boarding a train as a regular process. Also, there will be ticket-checking staff deployed at all the railway stations. But we will also have to control the law and order situation. Though due to lack of staff checking of each and every passenger won’t be possible, checks will be done for sure on these days also.”