Train passengers 'rat'tled by rodents in AC coaches


Suparna’s expensive foreign bag was bitten by a rat in the train. “Ever since that episode occurred, I do not sleep properly in trains. I always keep checking if my bag is safe once every two hours when I take a night train. This is more out of fear of rats than thieves!” she says.

This is not an isolated incident. A top railway official said, “I received a call from a young lady in Bangalore recently demanding compensation from the Railways for the damage caused to her stylish bag by a rat during her travel.”
The compensation, of course, was refused. “The railways is such a vast network. I agree that rats and cockroaches do cause some misery to passengers. But, we cannot keep compensating for all this!”

In another incident, Rajesh, who was on his way to Kerala from the City, found his hand baggage pockmarked with gaping holes. This was the second such time he had become a victim to rat-nibbling. “The previous occasion, my wife and I were carrying foodstuff in a bag for our journey. They were half-eaten by rats and my wife forced me to throw away the bag.”

The ubiquitous cockroaches noticed flying around trains - particularly in second class and general compartments - are a nightmare for many passengers. “I cannot understand why I have to put up with this, despite paying for a reserved ticket,” says Baljeet, travelling on a Delhi-bound train from the City.  His co-passenger remarks, “Even passengers in airconditioned coaches are not spared from its menace.”

Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore Division, Akhil Agrawal said these pests did cause some discomfort to passengers and he did receive a few complaints. “We are doing our best. The disinfectant sprayed to keep cockroaches at bay inside trains has not been able to control the pests. Hence, we have asked the contractor, Central Warehousing Corporation, to use a special gel along with it.”

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