The railways have launched a massive drive against smoking and carriage of inflammable material. This drive is initiated as a precautionary measure after several incidents of fire in different Zonal Railways were reported. Such incidents not only caused loss of property but also posed a grave danger to life. As stated by the Indian Railways, some of these incidents occurred due to smoking onboard or transportation of inflammable materials in trains.
The drive was formally launched on March 22, 2021, and is expected to continue till April 30, 2021. Furthermore, Railway officials will initiate legal action against violators from March 31, 2021.
The zonal railways have been instructed by the Indian Railways to start a 7-day ‘Intensive Awareness Drive’. This would include educating all railways stakeholders (railway users and railway or non-railway staff working in trains and at stations) regarding “precautions to be taken against fire incidents, enforcing “No Smoking”, preventing carriage of inflammable material through rail, checking SLRs/VPUs/Leased parcels against the transportation of inflammable material, etc.” In order to achieve this, an awareness campaign would be conducted. It will involve direct interaction, distribution of leaflets, Nukkad Nataks, stickers, announcement through PA system at railway stations, advertisement in print, social media, and electronic media, etc.
Additionally, following this awareness drive zonal railways will also carry out an intensive and sustained drive for:
- Conducting an intensive drive against smoking in railway premises and trains. Violators may be booked under the relevant provisions of the Railways Act or Tobacco Act. As per the provisions of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003, an officer not below the rank of commercial department’s ticket collector or an officer whose rank is corresponding to that of operating department or an officer, not below ASI rank in Railway Protection Force has been notified as competent.
- Organizing regular checks in trains against carriage of inflammable and explosive goods, including pantry cars (for transportation of LPG cylinders). The offenders may be booked under relevant sections of the Railways Act.
- Undertaking steady checks in platforms, washing/sick lines, yards, stables coaches to check cases of lighting fire, presence of inflammable debris, use of sigri for cooking food, including the fueling points. Appropriate legal action may be taken against the culprits.
- Inspecting parcels booked through Parcel offices/leaseholders may be done to inhibit the chances of booking inflammable and explosives materials.
- Lastly, action may also be taken against authorized or unauthorized vendors using sigri/stoves in a train or at station platforms.