MUMBAI:  Tired women commuters returning from work to their homes, were forced to face bugs attack in their coach on late Saturday night. As a result, many of the women commuters suffered stings and irate commuters then complained to the Divisional Regional Manager (DRM) who promised action.

On Saturday night, at around 2046 hours, during the peak hour rush traffic, women boarded the Virar fast local from Bandra. I was shocked to find majority of the women standing, despite the fact there were ample sitting available in the coach, said Priti Khuman Thakur, an eyewitness. When I inquired about the situation, women commuters said they were bitten by bugs which were found roaming underneath the wooden seats of the retrofitted coach,she said. I too decided to stand all the way to my residence in Virar as I feared the bug attack,said Thakur. Due to the overcrowding, as majority of the women commuters were standing, we suffered suffocation, she said. But some women who could not stand anylonger,including a pregnant lady decided to put newspapers on their seats and continued their journey till Virar, she said. Many women were also seen scratching their  body parts especially the legs, due to the bug sting, said Thakur.

Meantime, when the train crossed Andheri, I complained to Sanjay Mishra, DRM, WR about the bug attack and he promised immediate action, said Thakur. Said Mishra, after the complaint was received, I immediately ordered the Maintenance department to look into the matter and after the local reached Virar at around 2150 hours, it was directly taken to the Virar EMU Car shed where the ladies coach was detached, and anti-bug treatment was done,said Mishra.  In fact, I have ordered all retro fitted coaches running in the WR to  be given pest control treatment so as to avoid such inconvenience to the commuters in the future, said Mishra. 

Said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad, Kurla, the Railways should take proper care so that such bug attack is avoided.  As the old retrofitted coaches (the Saturday incident coach was retrofitted from  Direct Current (DC) to Alternative Current (AC) in 2013) have wooden seats, bugs and other pests are common, including termites, said Gupta. Fumigation using Methyl Bromide is to be used as an anti-bug treatment which is effective in controlling insects right from the egg to the adult stage as the Methyl Bromide is a strong chemical and has high toxicity to control pests,and has quick action, said railway sources.



In early January 2016, on the CR, an Airconditioned coach of the Siddheshwar Express witnessed bug attacks, when it rolled into Pune station, and irate reserved passengers halted the train for nearly an hour and only after the CR officials gave an assurance of a refund of their tickets, the train was allowed to proceed to CST. The Siddheshwar Express is also referred to as Khatmalwali Express, by irate passengers due to the bugs found in the coaches.

A year earlier, in January 2015, Praniti Shinde, MLA from Solapur and daughter of veteran politician Sushil Kumar Shinde had also complained of bed bugs in the same train​ and the same bug attack was reported in February and October 2015.