Phone theft menace haunts Darjeeling Mail passengers
Kolkata: Darjeeling Mail, the most preferred train for tourists travelling to and from North Bengal, has turned into a nightmare for a number of passengers in recent times.
In the last one month, there have been nearly 100 cases of mobile theft from passengers, that included a top official of the Eastern Railway and Mayor of Siliguri Ashok Bhattacharjee.
The AC 2 Tier alone has witnessed more than 50 cases of such thefts and this has raised serious questions about the security arrangement in Darjeeling Mail. Passengers waking up from their sleep in the morning had been astonished to find their mobiles missing.
According to sources in the Railway Protection Force (RPF), the mobile phone of Bhattacharjee had gone missing on February 9, while he was returning to Siliguri from Kolkata. "I suspect that the phone was stolen before Kishanganj railway station. My wife had gone to the bathroom and I was awakened from sleep soon after the train left Kishanganj, to find that my cell phone was missing," he said.
The Chief Public Relations officer of Eastern Railway R N Mahapatra also suffered the same fate while travelling in Darjeeling Mail. "We have formed a joint team of RPF and GRP to find out who are responsible for the thefts," Mahapatra said.
It has been learnt that the railway authorities are mulling the idea of installing CCTVs in AC compartments. It is also planning to disallow hawkers in these compartments and have facilities of pantry car, in case passengers need food. "We are also planning to enhance security in the AC coaches," a senior official of ER said.
It may be mentioned that a top GRP official, along with 10 constables and RPF personnel, are responsible for the security of Darjeeling Mail. VIPs have their own bodyguards too. So naturally, these theft cases have been a major cause of worry for the rail authorities.