Barely three days since the Railway Board (RB) authorised its officials to impose a penalty of Rs 500 for COVID violations, Rs 2.43 lakh was the fine amount collected from around 486 passengers for violations, mainly not wearing facemasks in railway station premises and trains between April 17 and 19. Most violations were recorded on Sunday with 263 people fined for not complying with protocols. Even on Monday, the last day before night curfew came into place in TN, railway authorities collected Rs 98,000 from 196 people. Penalised violators were also issued facemasks by special squads during the enforcement drive, which is aimed at educating rail passengers to follow COVID protocols.
A senior railway officer told DT Next that the chunk of violators were migrant labourers. “We observed during the three days that violations were common in sections where movement of migrant labourers is high. Even those violators among the local people were from the low income category,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, railway authorities would most likely scale down the frequency of suburban train service soon in tune with the night and weekend curfew restrictions. Sources said the Chennai Railway Division would reduce train frequency in weekdays to weekend patterns and drastically reduce the service on Sundays in a few days. Also, SR has appealed to the migrant workers not to panic. The zonal headquarters has issued a statement on the trains operated to eight key states of migrant workers from 11 major stations covering Tamil Nadu and Kerala.