GUWAHATI, July 15 - As the compartment reserved for women in the Manas Rhino Passenger train has received good response from commuters, the Railway authorities may take a decision on operating �ladies only� coaches in other local trains also depending on demand and footfall.
�Manas Rhino Passenger is the only train in Assam where there is a separate compartment reserved exclusively for women passengers. It was introduced a few months back and so far the response from women commuters has been very good,� an official of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) told The Assam Tribune.
Asked if NFR is looking to operate compartments reserved for ladies only in other trains as well, the official said, �If necessary, that can certainly be considered. However, it will depend on the passenger demand as well as number of commuters who travel on a particular train on a regular basis.
The number of commuters in Manas Rhino Passenger is very high and the train is almost always full. So it makes sense to have a separate compartment exclusively reserved for women to allow them to travel in comfort and safety.
However, there are some other trains where such a concept may not be feasible because the overall number of commuters travelling in those trains is less. But depending on demand, the issue can be looked into.�
The recent incidents of rape-cum-murder of two women passengers in separate incidents inside trains have once again brought to the fore the issue of safety of lady passengers.
On being contacted, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NFR Nripen Bhattacharya said that there have been incidents where male passengers have tried to board the ladies compartment in the Manas Rhino Passenger train.
�RPF and GRP have dealt sternly with such cases and many men have been apprehended for boarding the ladies compartment. Some of the cases may be due to lack of knowledge about the presence of the reserved compartment. But RPF and GRP have not taken any chances and violators have been arrested and penalised,� he said.
Bhattacharya added that the train is frequented by many people who have offices in Guwahati, but stay in other parts of Lower Assam and commute daily on board the Manas Rhino Passenger train.
�Having a compartment reserved for ladies has been appreciated because the train witnesses a huge rush of commuters. This is especially so in the case of working ladies who commute to their offices in Guwahati on a daily basis,� he said.
The Manas Rhino Passenger departs from New Bongaigaon at 4.50 am to Guwahati daily. On the return journey, it departs from Guwahati at 5.30 pm.