In its efforts to dissuade people from defecating and throwing garbage along the railway tracks at Mahim station, the Western Railway (WR) has deployed 20 RPF men near the Mahim slum.
Railway authorities are also planning to install CCTV cameras along the tracks, whose direct feed will be transmitted to the Mahim station master’s room. Other measures to fight this menace would be improving lighting on the stretch and forming a team of ticket collectors (TCs) to collect fine from the offenders. The WR has levied a fine of Rs 500 under Section 198 of Railway Act, 1989 on those caught dumping garbage along the railway tracks.
The railway authorities launched the drive a few days after a local train derailed on October 2 near Mahim station. The derailment had led to the suspension of Harbour line services for a few hours.
On October 2, four wheels of a Bandra bound suburban local train derailed between Kings Circle and Mahim stations. The committee which had been formed to investigate the reasons behind this derailment said, prima facie, the accumulated garbage and muck is to be blamed for insufficient cleaning and maintenance of rail assets at Mahim.
Open defecation is an unceasing problem at a number of suburban stations in Mumbai. In fact, railway tracks at most of these suburban stations, including Mahim are plagued by open defecation.
“The WR has launched this drive against open defecation at Mahim station. If people are found defecating along the railway tracks, they are fined by the ticket collectors (TCs) deployed there,” the official said. “For the first time, a large team of TCs has been formed to collect fine from those found defecating along the tracks. So far, more than Rs 70,000 have been collected from the offenders,” he added.
Another official added that open defecation can weaken and damage the tracks. “Open defecation not only reduces the lifespan of the tracks by 50 per cent but also discourages the railway staff to carry out repair work there,” he said.