Get off the ladies compartment, boys!

Published: Sep 01, 2010, 06:44 IST | Vedika Chaubey |

Western Railway has undertaken a drive to educate boys above the specified age limit travelling in ladies' compartments

Western Railway has undertaken a drive to educate boys above the specified age limit travelling in ladies' compartments

MISCHIEF MONGERS: Women commuters allege that the boys boarding the ladies compartment are noisy and vandalise the train walls. REPRESENTATION PIC

Taking note of the rising instance of grown up schoolboys hopping on the first class ladies' compartment, the Western Railway (WR) has started a drive to counsel them about basic commuting rules. The drive has been undertaken on the Western Line between Churchgate and Virar after WR received complaints from women commuters about grown boys getting in and disturbing them. Only students under 12 are allowed to travel in the ladies' first class compartment.

Chief PRO of Western Railway, Shyam Sunder Gupta, said, "We get complaints from female commuters about teenaged boys hopping on the ladies' first class compartment and disturbing them. Our special Surakshini squad team is keeping a check on these boys and counselling them about the rule."

Surakshini squad is a team of 14 women ticket collectors for the ladies' compartment, dressed in blue salwar kameez with white dupatta, who are currently engaged with counselling the boys about railway guidelines. 

In July, WR caught 293 boys above 12 years of age for travelling in the ladies first class compartment. Another 271 were caught in August.

Currently, the boys who are found aboard the ladies' coaches are given a warning and let off without being penalised.  They are usually asked to get off at the next station and shift to the general compartment. "We have to be careful so we do not scare the kids. If we raise our voice or if they find us intimidating, they may jump off a running train to escape getting caught," said a squad member.

Cite excess rush
For their part, the schoolboys usually cite excess rush in the general compartments as the reason for getting aboard the ladies' first class bogies. "They say there is always a lot of rush in the general and second class coaches. Sometimes they are accompanied with their small brothers and sisters so a ladies' compartment is easier to get in," informed the squad member.

Women commuters have alleged that the boys are noisy and vandalise the train walls. One with such a grouse is Rashmi Mohan who commutes between Malad and Churchgate. "Small kids are ok but the older kids make such a lot of noise that it becomes unbearable sometimes."

Said another commuter, Palak Gandhi, "They also draw and engrave on the compartment walls and shout in groups. We tell them to keep it down but they don't bother."

The rule
In 2008, then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav announced the free travel scheme for students commuting in local trains.
The facility of Free Monthly Season Tickets (MSTs) is available to boys up to Standard XII and to girls till their graduation for commuting daily between stations at their residence and school. Under the scheme, boys up to 12 years of age can travel in the ladies' compartments for free. Any boy above that age has to travel in the general compartment.

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