Titagarh (TGH): Immediately after the May 12 blast aboard a local train in Titagarh, Eastern Railway (ER), in a bid to control criminal activities on its land, served a notice to encroachers on either side of the Titagarh railway tracks. Former railways minister Dinesh Trivedi, the local MP, then rang up senior ER officials and threatened an agitation if they resort to an eviction drive.
This has been the stance of Trinamool Congress, due to which several Metro Railway projects in Kolkata, announced the Central Government have been stalled.
“Yes, I did object to this notice. There may be a few criminal elements. For this, one cannot punish everybody. If the railways want to evict people, it will have to come up with a proper rehabilitation package. This will have to take place across the country. The railways cannot control criminal activities within its premises and is trying to punish people who are in no way involved,” Trivedi told.
R K Gupta, general manager, ER, made it clear that it is not for the railways to get involved in law and order duties. According to him, steps have been taken to increase security of early morning and late night suburban trains, particularly in compartments earmarked for women. On a single day, security personnel booked 207 offenders under various sections. Many men were apprehended while travelling in compartments meant for women.
“We also started a ticket checking drive in the first and last suburban trains. Many people have been apprehended travelling without valid tickets. Not only are RPF contingents escorting first and last trains, there are special teams at stations to check on the efficiency level and alertness of the security personnel onboard,” Gupta said.
ER maintains that crime on trains and stations cannot be effectively contained unless encroachments on the sides of tracks is removed. Recently, some encroachments have been removed in the Sealdah division by the railways with help from the Government Railway Police (GRP). It is the State Government’s responsibility to rehabilitate the people who encroached Railway lands, and importantly, it is observed that most of the people involved in crimes in Railway areas are from these illegal hamlets, the officials told.