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Monday, July 16, 2001

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'Life-infusing' music in Metro stations

KOLKATA, JULY 15. In a move to dissuade the depressed from throwing themselves before speeding trains, the railway authorities have decided to play classical music in Metro stations to soothe strained nerves.

Alarmed at the rise in the frequency of suicides at Metro stations - eight this year, as against three in 2000 - the authorities hope that classical compositions in `Lalit' and `Hindustani' ragas can calm frayed nerves. The compositions, to be played on the `santoor,' have been conceived by the artiste, Mr. Tarun Bhattacharya.

Metro's Chief Operations Manager, Mr. Jayanta Mitra, said the authorities were interested in the idea, which had been mooted by an event management outfit and aided by a leading national newspaper group.

Earlier, the Metro had initiated moves like entrusting an NGO with the counselling of the distressed souls and increasing vigil to check suicide attempts.

Mr. Mitra said the `Lifeline Foundation' had been asked to embark on a more sustained campaign in all the Metro stations and display boards saying `contact Lifeline if you are in stress' at prominent places with a neon-lit glow sign.

The authorities had also decided to increase police surveillance and deploy more plainclothesmen in view of five cases of chain snatching in and around the stations recently. Mobile vans would keep watch during lean hours.

- PTI

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