Had it not been the presence of mind of an alert Railway Protection Force (RPF) Anti Robbery Squad constable, Chandrakant Rupde, commuter Ravindra Panda's name would have been in the railway accident victim's statistics forever.
Constable Chandrakant Rupde, attached to the RPF unit, Karjat was patrolling platform no 1. Around 2 pm, train no.16339 down CST-Nagercoil express arrived on the said platform of Karjat railway station. The train had a scheduled halt for two minutes at the station, which was extended for another 4 minutes, as an additional engine had to be connected to the rear end of the express train which is a routine practice before the train departs for the Ghat sections.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) Anti Robbery Squad constable, Chandrakant Rupde. Pic/RPF
Panda, who was traveling in coach no B-1, berth 61 and 62, was seen loitering on the platform, as seen in the close circuit cameras (CCTV) installed on the platform. At one point, he even stopped near a food stall to buy some refreshments. In the meanwhile, the train started moving slowly, and many passengers hurriedly boarded the moving train. Panda, too made an attempt to board when his leg slipped and was dragged by the train, which was slowly gaining momentum.
Constables Anita Yadav (left) and Prachi Ghuram. Pic/RPF
As per the CCTV footage, Panda was holding the handle of the door tightly, but could not lift himself up as he was stuck between the platform and the gap.
While the other commuters on the platform were screaming, no one come forward to help Panda.
Constable Rupde, who was nearby, reacted swiftly and pulled Panda. Since Panda had a heavy built, Constables Prachi Guram and Anita Yadav joined Rupde and succeeded in pulling him out of the gap safely.
Not only the constables pulled out Panda safely, but they also alerted the express train guard and signaled him to stop the train. After the train halted, Panda boarded the train. Luckily, he did not sustain any injury other than few bruises on his leg.
As a precautionary measure, the RPF Karjat team alerted the RPF at Lonavala and advised them to keep a doctor ready for Panda.
A senior RPF official who spoke to mid-day said, "Had it not been the swift action by the RPF constables, the passenger would have sustained serious fatal injuries. It was a prompt action and the department has taken s positive note of their bravery. We have recommended suitable award to the constables for exemplary work. A proposal has already been sent to Inspector General (RPF) A K Singh."
Since Wednesday, RPF officials at Karjat are trying to contact Panda to enquire about his health, but his mobile was switched off.