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Have you been robbed on a train? You have Indian Railways' full sympathy as it has been a victim too. From copper wires to iron bolts, towels to wash basin, thieves have spared nothing. According to Times of India, Railways arrested over 11 lakh people for stealing railway components in 2016.
Railway Protection Force (RPF), a security force entrusted with protecting railway passengers and railway property of the Indian Railways, has caught people stealing pandrol clips, fishplates, bolts, overhead wires, rails, bathroom fittings in train coaches.
The list does not end here. People have been caught stealing tube lights, mugs, metal water taps, fan, towels and blankets from coaches.
Maharashtra led in the number of arrests at 2.23 lakh, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 1.22 lakh nabs. Madhya Pradesh saw 98,594 arrests, while Tamil Nadu 81,408 and Gujarat 77,047, rounding up the top five states with this dubious distinction.
Gaurav Bansal, chief public relation officer of North Central Railway zone told TOI, "In eastern UP, miscreants throw iron chains on 25,000-volt overhead wires to disrupt power supply on the tracks and steal 99.9 % pure copper overhead wires, while in the rest of the state, people, especially drug addicts, steal pandrol clips or saw off parts of the track to sell in the grey market. A one-metre slice of railway track of 60 kg with 90 tonnes' endurance capacity can provide sufficient money to buy contraband."
Tejas Express theft
In October, an incident, which reflected gross misuse of public services, passengers of Tejas Express, the country's first high-speed semi-luxurious train, took away headphones, damaged LCD screens, soiled the toilets and littered the entire train during its maiden journey from Goa to Mumbai.
The matter came to light when several passengers travelling subsequently complained that they were not given headphones to connect to LCD screens. Media reports said at least 12 of the high-quality headphones provided for infotainment were missing.
Mahamana Express theft
In September, a number of passenger amenities had been reported stolen from the Varanasi-Vadodara Mahamana Express, a high-profile train that was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mumbai Mirror reported that when the train — the third in the Mahamana Express series — returned to Vadodara from Varanasi after wrapping up its first trip, officials from the Vadodara yard of Western Railway were shocked to find that three lavatory taps from the general coach, four hand showers and two carpets that were placed between coaches were missing.