Train heist case: No lessons learnt

A maintenance staff member said that though RPF personnel are deployed 24/7, the movement of outsiders' goes unnoticed.

Chennai: The biggest train robbery that yielded a mammoth booty of '5.75 crore to the robbers, who still remain lucky, has not taught any lessons to the Railway security system. A stranger can still walk in and out of the Chetpet railway yard, where passenger compartments and sealed goods wagons are parked either for repair or awaiting link passage. This correspondent strolled around this on Thursday afternoon, unchallenged.

A maintenance staff member said that though RPF personnel are deployed 24/7, the movement of ‘outsiders’ goes unnoticed. “The passenger compartments are left open while the parcel vans are usually locked. Strangers come in all the time and there’s no one to question them. You have been going around here but no one questioned you, right?” he asked.

One RPF woman constable was seen in the yard but she chose not to take note of the prying scribe and her photographer, while some of the other staff gave quizzical looks. An RPF officer insisted that five RPF personnel patrol the place round-the-clock, when this correspondent told him about the lack of police presence at the yard. The yard, which handles about 15 passenger trains a day, and about 7 parcel vans a week, is a highway of sorts. It is used as a thoroughfare for hundreds of residents of an adjacent slum; besides, the railway staff trek these tracks to cut short the 200-metre distance between Chetpet railway station and their office building. Needless to say that anti-social elements can merge through these crowds. While a thief would be interested in the sealed goods wagon, an anti-social element can easily plant a bomb inside a parked compartment.

“The yard changes into a busy red-light area in the night,” said a local resident, adding, “The train compartments, left open by the maintenance staff, become cozy bedrooms”. V Santhanam of the Chrompet Rail Users Forum said, “Issues of security laxity crop up only when there is some major lapse like the train robbery or the Chennai Central train blasts that happened in 2014. We can only pray that such incidents don’t recur.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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