Kolkata: Shortage of funds and practical
difficulties are holding up Eastern Railways from implementing
suggestions of the West Bengal government to resume night
service of trains in Maoist-hit areas which was stopped in the
aftermath of the Jnaneswari Express mishap.
"The Chief Secretary, West Bengal, has recently written
to the General Manager, South Eastern Railway, suggesting what
the SER should do to enhance security along the tracks. The
letter has been sent to the Railway Board and a directive from
the Board is awaited," SER sources said.
According to the sources, the Chief Secretary`s letter
had suggested that SER make lighting arrangements along the
tracks, install CCTVs at sensitive stations, set up RPF-manned
watch towers along the tracks and engage more gangmen for
security checks on the tracks.
SER sources said that besides involving huge funds,
implementing the state government`s suggestions would pose
some practical difficulties.
"For example, who will ensure safety of the lighting
arrangements along the tracks? Besides, how can a poor unarmed
gangman carry out night patrol and look for IEDs in places
where even the state police fear to go at night? Their lives
will be at risk," the sources said.
They said that during Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s
recent visit to junglemahal, SER general manager V Mittal held
discussions with the Chief Secretary and DGP (Railways).
During the discussion, Vittal told them that according
to the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs, it was the
responsibility of the state government to maintain security on
the railway tracks and bridges, the sources said.