September 5, 2019
Ooty : Tourists and locals, who are caught taking selfies on the heritage Nilgiri Mountain Rail (NMR) train, will have to cough up hefty fines henceforth. The Railway Authorities have announced heavy fines for those who take selfies as they endanger themselves and put many others at risk of accidents. People will be fined Rs.1,000 for crossing tracks without signal and Rs.2,000 for taking selfies.
The NMR is a quaint train running between Mettupalayam at the foothills of Nilgiris and Ooty Hill Resort in the moutains. The train traverses through the Nilgiris offering breathtaking views of the scenery along the route. This is a huge incentive for people who wish to take selfies, who often ignore safety instructions.
The train runs on steam between Mettupalayam and Coonoor and then on electricity between Coonoor and Ooty. Its maintenance and engine upkeep is done at the Coonoor Railway Station which has made it an important part of the Southern Railway Division.
Every day thousands of tourists and local residents travel on this route. Many take selfies on the tracks or cross the tracks for better view of scenery. This kind of careless behaviour has caused many freak accidents.
Despite the announcement regarding fines, people have continued to take selfies and cross tracks. Social activists, who saw some tourists taking photos standing on the railway tracks at Coonoor Railway Station just two days after the announcement was made, said more steps are needed to increase awareness among tourists about the need to follow safety rules.
Social activist V Sivadass said, “Tourists don’t realise the seriousness of the situation. Many have been victims of freak accidents in the past. They are ignoring the Railway warnings of fines and punishment. Some do it without proper knowledge. The police and tourism department officialss should step up their efforts towards safety with stricter policing.”