Railways to disable emergency chain to stop bootlegging

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha Polls, the Indian Railways is likely to disable the emergency chains on some trains headed towards Bihar to discourage bootlegging and illegal distribution of liquor.

The state, which has one of the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in the country, has been a dry state since 2016 and goes into polls on April 11. The railways has taken the decision with the prohibiton in consideration, in addition to the rule prohibiting sale and distribution of liquor on and around the election day.

RPF director Arun Kumar said the move was proposed following a noticable trend of smugglers using this method to move liquor to places of their choice and the ongoing restrictions in the state. He also said that guards will be posted on trains which have the chains disabled to help during emergencies, though he did not reveal which trains this rule would affect.

“We had a meeting with the Election Commission (EC) and have issued directions to zonal heads to [also] monitor movement of cash, drug, arms and liquor. Since there is no concept of 100% frisking in the railways, we rely on intelligence and profiling and have already made substantial seizures,” said Kumar.

Another official said that the EC's increased vigilance to stop helicopters from becoming a liquor distribution platform, trains have become the next favourite of smugglers. In addition, the official said that the RPF will be questioning people carrying gold and cash on trains.

The report says that unserved airports and helipads are also being brought into the purview of the restrictions. A civil aviation ministry official said that these places are being monitored to prevent movement of contraband during the elections.

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