With Deepavali round the corner, Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel of Tiruchi Railway Division have intensified checks to prevent illegal transportation of crackers in trains in order to ensure safety of travellers.

The latest move comes in the wake of directions from the RPF Chief Security Commissioner, Southern Railway, and the Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi, to personnel of the force to step up vigil to check transportation of crackers in trains in view of the festival season.

The directive has already been conveyed to the field-level officers of the RPF of various posts under the Tiruchi Division as well as the escort parties on board long distance trains.

The Tiruchi Railway Division alone accounts for over 10 RPF posts situated at places including Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Villupuram, Cuddalore Port Junction and Vriddhachalam. Around 90 RPF personnel escort 30 long distance trains when they pass through the Tiruchi Division in both directions.

RPF authorities here say that the drive against transportation of crackers in trains was launched a couple of days ago, as a preventive measure keeping in mind safety of the travelling public. Inspectors manning the RPF posts would liaise with railway Commercial department staff while carrying out sudden checks in stations to maintain the element of surprise.

Personnel of the Crime Intelligence Branch of the Division would also be involved in this task, says a senior RPF officer here adding that sniffer dogs would be pressed into service in this mission. The authorities say that SMS would soon be sent to the public through a private service provider appealing to them to desist from carrying crackers in trains as it was an offence punishable under the Railway Act.