Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: The 2003 amendment to the Railways Act, which came into effect from July 1, 2004, seems to have come in handy to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel of the Vijayawada division to take tough action against those involved in the recent rail roko agitations for unified State.

RPF authorities of the Vijayawada division under the South Central Railway booked as many as 70 cases against various political activists in less than two weeks.

The official statistics indicate that the activists squatted in front of 69 express trains, 20 passenger trains and 14 goods trains across the division between December 10 and December 18.

The 2003 amendment gave enough teeth to the RPF personnel to register cases against those “who create nuisance on the premises of railway stations and obstruct the movement of trains in any means.”

The RPF personnel are entitled to register cases under Section 146 (obstructing railway servant from discharging his duties), Section 147 (trespass) and Section 174 (obstructing the running of trains in any manner) of the Railways Act.

Of the 70 cases, 60 have been registered under Section 174, as per which the accused is liable to be punished with imprisonment of two years or a fine of Rs. 2,000 or both. In most of these 60 cases, provisions of Section 146 and Section 147 too have been invoked. Accordingly, the accused becomes liable to be punished with six months of imprisonment or Rs. 1,000 fine or both.

The Railway Magistrate would conduct the trial and award the punishment.