The Madurai Division of the Southern Railway has made elaborate security arrangements to prevent illegal transportation of firecrackers on trains this Deepavali season.
The police have stepped up vigil after a passenger was caught carrying crackers worth Rs.14,000 on a train at Tirunelveli junction two days ago.
A total of 690 personnel drawn from the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the Government Railway Police (GRP) had been pressed into service, said K.M. Sukumaran, Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Madurai Division.
Security personnel will carry out round-the-clock checking at major railway stations in Madurai division such as Dindigul, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Manamadurai, Rajapalayam, Sivakasi, Shencottah, Tuticorin, Rameswaram, Palani, Karaikudi and Punalur.
“Passengers and their baggage will be checked thoroughly using sniffer dogs and state-of-the-art scanners, which will detect the presence of firecrackers or explosives inside any material,” said C. Vellaiyan, Deputy Superintendent of Railway Police, Madurai.
The RPF and the GRP together undertook a campaign to create an awareness among the passengers of the dangers of carrying inflammable substances such as crackers on trains.
Pamphlets were distributed to passengers and visitors at the Madurai Railway junction. A special team comprising six persons and three sniffer dogs had been formed to conduct surprise checks on trains across all stations to prevent theft of passengers’ belongings and transportation of crackers, said A.S. Kannan, Inspector, (Crime) GRP, Madurai Division.
“Persons found carrying crackers will be sentenced to three years in prison under Section 164 of the Railway Act and a fine of up to Rs.1,000 will be slapped on them,” he added.