Shatabdi fire: Railways mulls severe penalty for smoking in trains
The railways is set to get cracking against those found smoking in trains and is mulling severe penalties, even arrest, for damaging public property after an initial probe in the recent fire in a coach of the Shatabdi Express, a senior official said on Saturday. The Shatabdi Express fire incident happened on March 13 near Raiwala in Uttarakhand.
Cigarette or bidi butts were found in a toilet dustbin
Officials in the know said that the initial report that came out has found that cigarette or bidi butts were thrown into the dustbin of one of the toilets. The dustbin was apparently filled with soiled tissue paper. This led to a fire in a coach of the New Delhi-Dehradun Shatabdi Special. Notably, smoking is prohibited in trains and is a punishable offense.
Passengers should be sensitized against smoking in trains: Goyal
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a meeting with Railway Board members and general managers of zones asked them to take proactive steps towards sensitizing passengers against smoking in trains and also urged that erring passengers need to be deterred from causing risks to others by smoking in trains. "The railways will crack down on smoking in trains," a senior officer said.
Penalties, arrests being contemplated for damaging railway property
"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," the officer said.
Interior of toilet was completely charred due to the fire
The fire, the officer said was so damaging that the interior of the toilet was completely charred and the floor was cracked. Officers said that a passenger has also provided a written statement to the four-member probe team stating that the smoke detector in coach went off when the fire started.
We can't let our guard down: Spokesperson
"A bigger tragedy was averted by the swift response of the train crew as the coach was detached soon," the officer said. "But we can't let the guard down. So much effort has been made to prevent such incidents. Irresponsible passengers cannot be allowed to risk the lives of others," DJ Narain, Spokesperson, Railways, said.