Last week, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) began cracking down on tipplers drinking on railway tracks in and around the city. So far, around 50 people, including several software engineers, have been held.

The initiative follows a report in The Hindu (‘At twilight, rail lines become bars’) that appeared on March 30, about how tracks in the city, especially those between Saidapet and Tambaram, had turned into open bars.

Following this, S.R. Gandhi, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF formed special teams and ordered personnel to curb the practice.

An inspector from the team travelled with engine drivers to identify areas that were generally used by young men to sit and drink in. “Whenever he spotted people drinking on the tracks, he sent a message to the control room about the location along with the exact distance from the station,” said Mr. Gandhi.

After this, a team immediately went to the location and nabbed the group of tipplers. “We started cracking down on the menace last week and it continued until Friday. We nabbed at least eight persons on a daily basis,” said Mr. Gandhi.Most of those held were found near Saidapet, Mambalam, Chromepet and Pallavaram. “We stationed a vehicle near St. Thomas Mount railway station to transport drunken persons to a nearby government hospital. They were asked to pay a fine once it was ascertained that they were drunk,” said Mr. Gandhi.

The raids, he said, will be conducted on a regular basis

“The railways should consider constructing compound walls along the track, so that people living near them are not put to hardship. In many places the walls are broken,” said S. Gururajan, a resident of West Mambalam.

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