Railways mulls severe penalty for smoking in trains after Shatabdi fire
The railways is set to get cracking against those found smoking in trains.
Indian Railways is considering bringing in severe rules and penalties for people found smoking in trains after an initial probe stated that smoking caused a fire in a coach of the Shatabdi Express.
A senior official told the news agency PTI that the initial report has found that cigarette or bidi butts were thrown into the dustbin of one of the toilets which were filled with soiled tissue paper. This led to a fire in the S5 coach of the New Delhi-Dehradun Shatabdi Special, although all passengers were safely evacuated and no injuries were reported. The incident happened on March 13 near Raiwala in Uttarakhand.
The fire, the officer said was so damaging that the interior of the toilet was completely charred and the floor was cracked.
"The railways will crack down on smoking in trains. The fire most likely started in one of the toilets and initial investigations revealed that the fire was in all probability caused by simmering cigarettes/ beedi thrown in the dustbin. The continuous airflow in a fast-moving train would have fanned it,” a senior officer said.
"We are contemplating severe penalties. In some cases, even arrests can be made for causing damage to public railway property and risking the lives of others to deter irresponsible and errant persons," he added.
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a meeting with Railway Board members and general managers of zones asked them to take proactive steps towards sensitising passengers against smoking in trains and also urged that erring passengers need to be deterred from causing risks to others by smoking in trains.
Currently, under the 167 section of the Railways Act, anyone found smoking in a compartment is liable for a fine of up to Rs 100.
(With inputs from PTI)