Try to open Kolkata metro doors and you will be in jail

Mousumi Dash

Kolkata, July 18: The tragic incident of Park street metro that claim the life of Sajal Kumar Kanjilal on Saturday has prompted Metro officials to invoke provisions of the Indian Railways Act, 1989, to penalise passengers who try to prise open closing doors to board the train.

Reportedly, after two days of deliberations, Metro Railway has decided to enforce provisions of the Railways Act that imposes a minimum fine of Rs 500 and a maximum penalty of Rs 1,000 in fine and/or six months in jail for obstructing railway staff from performing their duties.

The first such penalty was imposed on a passenger who tried to thrust in his hand to stop a closing door at the Dum Dum Metro station on Wednesday, as reported by The Telegraph.

Apparently, the decision comes four days after the sexagenarian of Kasba resident Sajal Kanjilal died after being dragged along the platform and into the tunnel by a train with his fingers stuck between the doors of a coach at Park Street station.

But Kanjilal's death was not lesson enough, as in another incident on Monday evening a Metiabruz resident was caught by Railway Protection Force (RPF) at the same station while attempting to force open the doors of a coach. He was asked to cough up a fine of Rs 3,000 but was allowed to leave after paying Rs 500 and tendering an apology, as reported by the TOI.

Man's hand gets stuck between metro coach door, dies

The commercial staff and RPF personnel were directed to impose Section 146 of the Railways Act stringently on Wednesday. "That is the only way to prevent accidents. Staff present at the spot will decide how much punishment the offender deserves," Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee said.

Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee further added, "For an example, if a person puts both his hands and feet in between the closing doors with a concerted effort to open it and stop the train, thereby endangering his life and obstructing train running, we may press for a six-month jail term as well as a fine of Rs 1,000. We shall put up notices and make announcements at all stations."

Extremely distressed by the negative publicity that Saturday's incident has brought to the country's oldest underground mass rapid transit system, Metro officials have also decided to get details of the offenders published. At a later stage, rogues galleries with photographs and names of repeat offenders may appear at stations to cause further embarrassment.

Senior officials of Eastern and South Eastern Railways that have headquarters in Kolkata hailed the decision saying trains were obstructed the most in Bengal and imposition of Railways Act, even against a few offenders, may act as a deterrent.

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