Commuters raise security concerns at Pune Railway station

PUNE: Railway commuters’ groups in the city are rattled by the lack of security on the premises of the Pune railway station after the Central Railway (Pune Division) authorities found at least 20 empty purses and clothes kept in the false ceiling space on the Platform Number 1.

According to them, more dangerous material can be stored here without drawing much attention. They sought better security measures to prevent illegal entry on the premises.

Some panels of the false ceiling were dangling on Tuesday evening and the authorities were looking for reasons. They found that the metal grid supporting the panels had been stolen. This led to the dislocation of the panels, railway authorities said.

“We cannot see any other technical fault in the false ceiling. The panels must have got dislodged after the rods and screws were removed by thieves and sold,” a railway administration official said.

Harsha Shah of Railway Pravasi Group said the railway administration must step up security on the platforms and especially at the exit and entry gates to curb instances of theft. “Unauthorized points used to gain enter on the station’s premises must be closed. More than 150 trains are operated every day from the station and passengers should feel safe. There should be timely checks of passenger amenities,” she added.

The dislodged panels were located near the foot overbridge. Thieves would have crawled into the space from the gap near the escalator that opens to the foot overbridge and dumped the empty purses and clothes, the official said.

The false ceiling was fixed for beautification of the railway station. It has been removed now as a precautionary measure. Other places on the premises with false ceilings are being checked. The station has many unwanted elements involved in thefts and illegal activities, railway authorities said. They use the facilities on the platforms and in the circulating areas and come back even though the administration frequently drives them away.

Abhay Parmar of the Government Railway Police (GRP) said they have been asked to act against people creating a nuisance on the premises. Special attention is being given to spots that allow illegal entry to the station.

Dinu Joshi, a regular traveller, said, “Getting into the station’s premises is easy. Presence of thieves and ticketless travelers can be restricted if the administration and police maintain continuous vigil on the premises. Many beggars are in the circulating area of the station.”

Ramesh Rahane, who travels by the Lonavla-bound local train, said all platforms need security. Police presence is sparse and should be increased during rush hours, he added.