The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has detained 806 people so far this year for needlessly pulling alarm chains and causing delay of trains.
The alarm chains in the train are meant to be used only during acute emergency. Earlier, Railways embedded an alarm chain in either side of the coaches. However, Indian Railways have slashed the numbers of chains as misuse of this facility was rising high. Now there is only a single chain located in the mid of every coach. Alarm chain pulling can be done by a passenger in the event of Medical emergency, Fire in the Train, Boarding with an elderly or disabled person and Safety emergencies like robbery, dacoits, etc.
Section 141 of the Indian Railways Act specifies that “Needlessly interfering with means of communication in a train.—If any passenger or any other person, without reasonable and sufficient cause, makes use of, or interferes with, any means provided by a railway administration in a train for communication between passengers and the railway servant in charge of the train, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both”.
Emergency flashers are located on the side walls of the train which get triggered in the coach from where chain was pulled, and a light starts blinking through which the RPF personnel can easily locate the coach. After the manual setup of the chain, the train is ready to depart and run at its speed. It is to be mentioned that a large number of alarm chain pulling cases have been reported from major stations where passengers who are late for the train use the alarm chain to delay the departure of the train. As train movement are planned in a certain sequence, the delay in one train leads to loss in punctuality of other trains too, leading to inconvenience to large number of people.