Rail passengers will have to bear with the inadequate amenities at the Secunderabad railway station for “some more time” as repairs to the infrastructure are still under way in the aftermath of vandalism and arson by mobs protesting against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, said SCR Secunderabad division DRM A.K. Gupta.
Mobs on rampage had broken benches, around 100 CCTVs, fans, lights, escalators, lifts and kiosks on platforms 2,3,4 and 5. This is apart from burning parcel vans of the East Coast Express and Ajanta Express, damage caused to accident relief and medical vans and breaking glass panes of other trains at the station, he told mediapersons.
“We did not expect violence in our area though railway property in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states in the north were vandalised and burnt. We were expecting a peaceful protest and certainly were not ready for well prepared mobs armed with rods and sticks with the intention of causing large-scale damage,” he confessed.
While the railway and state police are investigating into the planning, entry, arson, vandalism and looting by the mobs as well identifying those involved, with the help of extensive CCTV footage available, various departments were still making assessments of the loss, including loss suffered by kiosk owners as the eatables were totally looted and shops vandalised.
“We had to cancel or curtail many trains and even now the Danapur (train burnt in Bihar) and East Coast Express services are affected due to loss of rakes, freight loss and ticket cancellations. While preliminary estimate is ₹12 crore, a final picture will emerge once we consider the total loss,” said Mr Gupta.
“Luckily, no passenger was injured in the violence and our personnel managed to evacuate the passengers of East Coast Express to safety. A few of our personnel suffered minor injuries. Four escalators and lifts are still being repaired,” he added.
SCR authorities have decided to allow bonafide passengers with tickets and also those having platform tickets into the station without any restriction or increasing the price of platform tickets following the violence. But, forces of the Railway Protection Force and Rapid Action Force are maintaining strict vigil at the entry points and on station premises. This is being done throughout the zone at all important stations, he added.
Crime Today News | Hyderabad