Hyderabad: Metro Rail tries to deal with a sticky problem

There have been quite a few complaints of chewing gum being spat in the stations or stuck inside trains.

Hyderabad: Walk into a Metro Rail station and chances are that the security personnel posted at the baggage screening area will take a very close look at you, your mouth to be precise.

Besides looking for suspicious objects, arms, ammunition, explosives, cigarettes and liquor bottles, security personnel at the Metro Rail stations have a rather tricky task at hand — looking out for passengers chewing gum or carrying them. Hyderabad Metro Rail’s challenges with unruly Hyderabadis seems to have just begun.

Over the last few days, with the authorities coming across a few instances of chewing gum being stuck to the seats and elsewhere in the Metro trains and stations, the security personnel who screen the passengers and their baggage have been asked to strictly “monitor” the passengers. In case they find them chewing gum, they will be asked to drop it into dustbins and the board the train. CCTVs cameras are being used to catch gum-chewing passengers. “Two days ago, we found a dried gum stuck to the seat. It took quite some time to scrub off the gum patches. In a few instances, thoughtless people are dropping the chewing gum in stations. It is one hell of a challenge to clean it, If it gets stuck to the footwear or clothes, then passengers will blame Metro Rail authorities,” a security guard at the Begumpet Metro Rail station told this newspaper.

According to her, there have been quite a few complaints of chewing gum being spat in the stations or stuck inside trains.

Hyderabadis are notorious for sticking chewing gum to the seats in RTC buses and cinema halls. Metro trains seem to be the latest addition to the list.

Another security personnel of FMS at Parade Ground Metro station said: “We have been asked to check specifically for people chewing gum. The moment we spot anybody chewing something, we ask them to show us what they are eating. If it turns out to be gum, they will be asked to drop it in the dustbin and only be allowed inside. In case they are carrying chewing gum, it will be seized,” he said.

The problem has become so big that all security personnel have been asked to keep a watch for passengers chewing gum by monitoring CCTVs. “Yes, we are taking the help of CCTVs both in the stations and inside the trains. For now, we are just warning people and soon they will be fined for chewing gum in Metro stations and trains,” a Metro Rail official, busy screening passengers on CCTV, told this newspaper.

Security personnel explained that spotting passengers who are chewing gum is a tricky task. “Only yesterday, two passengers got irritated when we asked them to open their mouth. Both of them were eating chocolates. Some others asked us why we are staring at them when we tried to take a closer look to see if they were chewing gum. Though it gets tricky, we have a job to do,” they said.

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