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Unscrupulous hawkers and unauthorised vendors cause inconvenience to bona-fide passengers which has become a deep-rooted malaise over Indian Railways. Indian Railway is vigilant against such unauthorised vendors and last year approximately 2.2 lakhs such offenders were arrested all over the country. Up to April this year alone, 62 thousand such offenders were booked under relevant provisions in section 144 of Railway Act, 1989.

Ministry of Railways has now decided to step up actions against such unauthorised vendors and instructed all zonal railways to take all possible preventive measures. A set of guidelines has been issued so that this menace can be eradicated completely.

As the first step, major sections and trains affected with these activities are being identified and a close watch is being kept o­n trains having no pantry cars. Railway Protection Force personnel in zonal railways are asked to go for surprise checks o­n the identified sections and trains in close coordination with the Commercial Department. It has also been decided to dismantle all unauthorised kitchens in and around the stations limits or along the tracks to stop the source supply of items for vending. At the same time, it has been decided to issue Identity Cards to authorised vendors. Steps are being taken to co-ordinate services provided by registered vendors to the passengers and their grievances are being paid attention. As an incentive, railway officers and other employees will be rewarded for initiating steps in stopping unauthorised vending. Staffs up to the lowest level are also being sensitized and motivated to prevent unauthorised vending.

(Pranav Jyoti Sharma)

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