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Look like you've had a few drinks? Delhi's subway starts breath-testing passengers

Raveendran / AFP - Getty Images file

Delhi Metro passengers watch a policeman as he patrols with a sniffer dog on a train in this file photo.

Passengers on Delhi's subway face being breath-tested for alcohol consumption in an experiment aimed at preventing late-night brawls, according to local media reports.

Anyone who appears drunk will be tested and possibly refused entry to the metro system, according to the Hindustan Times.

The pilot project seeks to reduce the number of late-night fights on the city’s subway, which carries almost 2 million people a day.

It also follows wider public concern about alcohol and lawlessness. The alleged perpetrators of the December 16, 2012 gang rape on a New Delhi minibus - in which a medical student died, prompting global outrage – were drunk, according to prosecutors.

Although there is no law against being drunk on a train in India, anyone found to have more than 30mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood will be denied travel, according to the Telegraph newspaper in Calcutta.

"Drunkenness is an unnecessary nuisance to other passengers. It's uncomfortable if you have to share space with someone who is reeking of alcohol," Hemendra Singh, spokesman for the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for metro security, told AFP.

Singh said officers would only breath-test people who shows signs of being under the influence of alcohol, adding that drunken brawls had become a problem on the metro, especially in the late evening.

The CISF has asked metro authorities for 130 hand-held breath-testing devices, similar to the ones used by traffic police.

Not everyone has welcomed the idea. “Not everyone who drinks is a potential rapist or a molester to be kept under watch. If there was a measure for silliness, this beats all records,” 21-year-old student Rakesh Srivastava told the Calcutta Telegraph.