A day after some migrant workers travelling in a special train allegedly ransacked a food vending machine at Jabalpur railway station in Madhya Pradesh, the West Central Railway (WCR) on Saturday emptied out such dispensers on platforms of the stations under its jurisdiction, an official said. The WCR covers Jabalpur, Bhopal and Kota railway divisions.
The incident occurred early Friday on platform number 5 of the railway station when some migrants travelling in Mumbai-Danapur special train damaged a vending machine of packaged food items and cold drinks, the official said.
A video of the incident had gone viral on social media on Saturday. The clip showed some migrant labourers, who had alighted on the the platform, damaging the automatic vending machines installed there and looting the goods stored inside. Seeing their colleagues, some more labourers joined in and decamped with the goods as none from the Government Railway Police (GRP) or Railway Protection Force (RPF) were present there to stop them.
"Packaged eatable items have been removed from vending machines installed on platforms of railway stations, after a video showed passengers taking away eatables from the machine," WCR Chief Public Relation Officer Priyanka Dixit told PTI.
Dixit said the Railways has been providing food and water to passengers at the designated stations under WCR.
Some of the vendors who owned the machine lodged complaint with the GRP regarding the incident.
Vimal Raikwar, one of the vendors, who owns ten such machines at Jabalpur railway station told News18 that two of his machines installed at the platform were damaged and goods looted. The fridger and lights of the machines were also damaged. Each machine had goods stored worth around Rs 22, 000, he added.
I have incurred losses upto Rs 60,000 and will lodge an FIR with the GRP, said Raikwar, who claimed that due to the lockdown, he could not visit the machines for a while.
The security cover was available at platform no 1 and 6 but no police personnel had been deployed on internal platforms.
Railway administration however claimed that they are distributing chips packets and water to the passengers of Shramik special trains.
Sources also claimed that labourers got furious after they saw long queues on the water taps at the railway station and resorted to loot in disgust.
Few days ago, migrant labourers on board a similar train had mobbed a government employee carrying food packets meant for the labourers at Katihar railway station in Bihar. The hungry labourers engaged themselves in a fistfight for grabbing those packets.
A few days away, a group of migrant labourers had a violent scuffle at Satna railway station in Madhya Pradesh for having food distributed among them as some of them claimed that they weren’t given food packets by the administration.
(With inputs from PTI)