Indian Railways (IR) has launched a massive drive against smoking and carriage of inflammable material through the railway network and will soon start taking legal action against violators. IR has launched this drive in view of several recent incidents of fire in various Zonal Railways. These incidents resulted in the loss of property and posed a grave danger to life. According to IR, some of these incidents appeared to have been caused by smoking onboard or transportation of inflammable material by train.
"To curb such incidents, Indian Railways launched a massive drive against smoking and carriage of inflammable material through Railways," said Railway Ministry in a press release. The drive was officially launched on March 22, 2021. The ministry will start taking legal action against violators from March 31, 2021. According to Railway Ministry, the drive is expected to continue till April 30, 2021.
As part of this initiative, IR has instructed all Zonal Railways to launch a 7-day 'Intensive Awareness Drive'. During the Intensive Awareness Drive, all railway stakeholders will be educated about "precautions to be taken against fire incidents like enforcing "No Smoking", preventing carriage of inflammable material through rail, checking SLRs/VPUs/Leased parcels against transportation of inflammable material etc". This is expected to be achieved through "direct interaction, distribution of leaflets, pamphlets, pasting of stickers, conducting Nukkad Nataks, announcement through PA System at stations, advertisement in print, electronic media and social media etc." as per the Railway Ministry release.
IR has also directed all Zonal Railways that after the massive awareness drive, an intensive and sustained drive should be launched for the following:
- Intensive drive may be conducted against smoking in trains and railway premises and violators may be booked under relevant provisions of Railways Act or Tobacco Act. An officer not below the rank of ticket collector of the commercial department or an officer of equivalent rank of operating department or an officer not below the rank of ASI in RPF have been notified as competent to act under the provisions of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003.
- Regular checks may be done in trains against carriage of inflammable and explosive goods, including pantry cars (for carriage of LPG cylinders) and violators may be booked under relevant sections of Railways Act.
- Regular checks may be undertaken in platforms, yards, washing/sick lines, stables coaches to check cases of lighting fire, using sigri for cooking food, collection of inflammable debris among others. The fueling points may also be covered under these checks. Legal action may be taken against the culprits.
- Checking of parcels booked through Parcel offices/leaseholders may be done to curb chances of booking of inflammable and explosives material.
- Action against authorized/unauthorised vendors using sigri/stoves in train and at platforms may also be taken.