Sunday, March 26

Kolkata Metro preaches take-it-easy policy to keep order at stations

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On Tuesday, electronic display boards placed strategically near the smart gates of Metro Railway stations lit up with messages urging passengers not to try and board trains while its doors are closing. “If the train is crowded or the doors are closing, travel by the next one,” the second part of the message advises. This is part of the recommendations made by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to the Metro after Saturday’s accident in which 66-year-old Sajal Kanjilal lost his life after his fingers got stuck in between the doors of a coach.

The move comes a day after Metro decided to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 for attempting to hold back a train by pushing one’s fingers or arm through doors that are closing.

“This is just the start. Very soon, we will also get video clippings made to raise awareness among passengers. The video clips will highlight the dangers of trying to push one’s fingers through a door when the leaves are closing,” Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee said.

Security was also tight at all Metro stations with Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel maintaining watch on stragglers rushing down escalators or stairs moments before the departure of a train from the platform. According to an official, there were several instances during the day when such people were stopped at the base of stairs or escalators and asked to wait for the next train. The official wondered for how long such measures can work unless people become aware.

“There were some who did reach the train on time but could not get in due to the rush. We could make out that their fingers itched to grasp the doors even as they closed. But they dared not reach out, fearing admonishment and fines by the authorities. Kolkata is supposed to be a city of educated, well-behaved and disciplined people. We had several constables from other states wondering why they behave in this way. If our attention is diverted for a moment, passengers are likely to commit the same mistake that cost a man his life,” he said.

The Metro’s top management is still working out strategies to discourage people from inserting fingers between doors on a long term basis as they know that so many personnel can’t be posted at platforms throughout the year.

“Sometimes, security personnel are forced to be harsh while pulling back somebody from a door that is closing. In the past there have been ugly scenes when RPF constables had tried to prevent accidents. This is worrisome. Maybe, imposing penalties will be a deterrent. It has been decided to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 for attempting to hold back a train by pushing one’s fingers or arm through doors that are closing. There are provisions in the Railways Act to impose such fine,” another official said.

Forcible opening of doors not only poses a safety threat but also delays trains. There have been instances in the past when trains have been held up at stations for two minutes or more as doors were forced open repeatedly.

Source: Times of India

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