The Western Railway (WR) authorities caught 1,310 people smoking in trains or on the railway station premises and collected fines amounting to Rs 1.30 lakh in 2021. “Most of the offenders used toilets for smoking,” said an RPF official, who is part of the ongoing drive to curb the menace.
“Smoking in trains or on the railway premises, including toilets of trains, is an offence under section 167 of the Railway's Act. Anyone found smoking is prosecuted accordingly,” said a WR official, adding that the authorities have launched a drive against smokers throughout the WR network.
According to the official, WR authorities a contemplating more 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 these irresponsible and errant persons,” he said.
Inserting cigarette and bidi butts or gutkha wrappers in the fan base, fuse distribution board or roof openings can result in damage to railway property. Discarding these in the bio-toilets can result in clogging. “Throwing these items in the bio-toilets has become a major headache for the housekeeping department and we have been appealing to passengers to refrain from doing so,” said the official. Currently, most trains running have been fitted with bio-toilets.
"The Railways connect people across the length and breadth of the country. However, a small error can cut the journey short. Smoking on the train or carrying inflammable articles can cause a fire. WR exhorts passengers not to endanger lives by indulging in such practices,” said another official. Carrying explosive substances and inflammable articles in trains or on the railway premises is a punishable offence under section 164 of the Railway's Act. It can attract a fine of Rs 1000, imprisonment of up to three years, or both.