Is your train heading to or going to Bihar? Indian Railways is looking to discontinue the chain pulling system! In a bid to prevent smuggling of liquor during the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the Railway Ministry is likely to discontinue the chain pulling system on trains headed to some areas of Bihar, according to an HT report. Bihar has been a dry state since 2016. The national polls in the state would be held in seven phases from April 11. Distributing or serving liquor on election day and during the 48 hours preceding it is an electoral offense. Moreover, any kind of violation of the liquor ban in the state can lead up to five years in prison, according to an HT report. In many parts of India, liquor is used as an inducement to voters at election time.
According to Railway Protection Force (RPF) Director General Arun Kumar, who was quoted in the report, a trend has been noticed by the RPF in Bihar wherein smugglers would pull the chains and then get down from trains carrying liquor at the places of their choice. He said that since it is a dry state, the move to discontinue chain pulling system was proposed. Now considering the poll-related restrictions in place, the RPF is again thinking of disabling the device. However, Kumar did not specify the trains on which the system would be disabled.
According to RPF officials, last week, 31 cases of liquor smuggling involving chain pulling were reported. Most of these liquor smuggling cases have been reported from various parts of Bihar, including Chapra and Patna as well as from Nagpur in Maharashtra.
Kumar further stated that a meeting was held between the RPF and the Election Commission (EC), where directions were issued to zonal heads to monitor the movement of cash, arms, drugs and liquor. As Indian Railways does not have a concept of 100% frisking, the RPF relies on intelligence and profiling and substantial seizure have already been made, he said.
Last week, around Rs 17 lakh was seized from two places in Bihar and one in Andhra Pradesh. Another RPF official was quoted in the report saying that in order to ensure that private helicopters do not carry liquor as well as other items that are meant to influence voters, the EC had increased vigil. So trains will become a preferred mode for smuggling, automatically, he said. The RPF has also been questioning people carrying cash or gold and if passengers fail to explain the reasons for carrying cash or gold, they are detained and local electoral officers are notified, the official added.