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18 Jul 2019, Edition - 1465, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Officials mum as railways turns route for gutka to reach TN from Madurai station

Covai Post Network

Coimbatore: The railways appears a safe transport mode for carrying drugs and Arappor Iyakkam, a social organisation fighting against corruption, water bodies, public health and citizen’s rights, has exposed how gutka and pan masala are being brought illegally into Tamil Nadu through Madurai junction.

The organisation claims the whistleblower who belongs to Madurai police department tipped them off about six months month ago. Thirukkural Express, originating from Nizamuddin, has a scheduled stoppage at Madurai in the wee hours of Monday and Wednesday. The rules permit the train to stop for just five minutes while the ground reality is that the halt extends to about 15-45 minutes, primarily for unloading gutka and pan masala cartons from the coach right behind the engine. Once unloaded these cartons are placed on a trolley by a group of men and channeled out of the VIP gate on platform number 3 without any checking or weighing.

Arappor had shot the sting video last October where it can be seen how the broker overseeing it all boasts of easy transportation of the tobacco products through the railways, when questioned about the strong tobacco smell.

The nexus involves train operator, parcel officer, station officer, railway police and railway union workers along with senior officials who take bribes and sit cozily in their seats turning a blind eye to the open racket

It has been noted that due to unloading of gutka cartons the train is delayed on a regular basis and this has been over a long period.

To protect lives and prevent Tamil Nadu from becoming a tobacco addict state, Arappor Iyakkam tried approaching CBI, but tasted little success.

It then approached the Chief Vigilance Officer of Railways and handed over the evidences with a message that a raid should be conducted. The raid was conducted in February and cartons were also seized but as expected those were left under the RPF vigil without registering an FIR against the culprits.

A letter by Amutha IAS was also sent to FSSAI following the raids on Tirukkural Express and the FSSAI in turn wrote to the Additional Commissioner of Food Safety to comply with the Supreme Court order on the ban of gutka and pan masala.

The World Health Organisation states that each year 6 million people around the world quit tobacco because they are no more alive to see the sun rising.It is puzzling why these railways officials have not been subjected to an inquiry over all these days in spite of all evidence against them.

The social organisation office-bearers felt it was high time railways lodged an official complaint against all those involved in the act. The transport racket was impossible without active connivance of senior railway officials, senior railway protection force officials and officials of the State police outside the railway station.

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