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RPF may have a bigger role

Proposal seeks to entrust cases relating to passengers’ safety to the Force

If a proposal sent to the Centre by the Railway Minister is accepted, the Railway Protection Force (RPF), which now investigates only criminal cases relating to railway property, may pursue cases of crime pertaining to passengers’ safety too.

“The Railway Ministry has submitted a proposal to the government to empower RPF to register and investigate passenger-related criminal offences,” a senior railway official said.

The Ministry has sought an amendment in the RPF Act, 1957, to have this change incorporated in the system. Opinions of the State governments have been received by the Ministry and the proposal is under consideration, officials said.

Criminal cases relating to passengers are now investigated by Government Railway Police (GRP) of the State government, while RPF essentially looks after the protection of railway property. Sources with RPF told The Hindu that if the proposal was accepted, they would soon be able to register and investigate cases, hitherto attended by GRP and investigations of criminal cases pertaining to railway installations would be speeded up, they said.

Since policing in the railways is a State subject, crime cases on railway premises and trains have always been registered and investigated by GRP but RPF also contributes to efforts of GRP in maintaining law and order.

“ Since Law and Order is a State subject, there is objection from the police departments of State governments. It requires Constitutional amendment,” a senior officer said. “As of now, cases of crime in railways detected by the RPF are handed over to the GRP. If this amendment is made, the RFP can register and investigate these cases independently,” he said. “The advantage of empowering the RPF to investigate cases is that victims of crime would not be put to any undue inconvenience,” he added.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/rpf-may-have-a-bigger-role/article8367884.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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CR to power up CST cams with new software to strengthen electronic surveillance

Cameras at key Central Railway stations are set to get smarter with video-analytical software to strengthen electronic surveillance. The software sends an alert abo ut unusual activity or any intrusion that security personnel can attend to on a priority.

The software will be used as a pilot project at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), which has maxi mum footfalls, to detect loiterers, curb tampering of railway equipment or sounds of gunshots, said se nior railway cofficials.

Security has been a huge concern after CST was targetted during the 2611terror attacks. Using videoanalytics will reduce the workload on Railway Protection Force (RPF) operators who find it nearly impossible to constantly monitor feeds from the various cameras installed at the station.

“While installing the software, one has to set up parameters for the activity being looked at, like a person trying to gain access to restricted premises. Then the alert notification system has to be set up. Now, every time the software detects something that meets its search criteria, it will trigger off an alert,“ an official said. Multiple images of the situation will start popping up on the screen and the operator can immediately tell his colleagues to attend to it, he added.

“The software will make IP cameras more intelligent. We can keep tabs on any intrusion into ticket booking offices, abandoning of objects or their removal and defacement of railway property ,“ the railway official said. Direction of movement can also be defined so the system generates triggers only when individuals move in a particular direction across an area.

Eight vehicle scanners, totally worth Rs 2.3 crore, will also be purchased, of which two will be used at CST. Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) is likely to be the next to get the scanners.

Western Railway will set up two baggage scanners at Bandra Terminus and Mumbai Central Terminus within two months.

But railway officials admitted that the sheer volume of vehicles and passengers arriving at railway termini make it impossible to examine each of them. The scanners will be used for select vehicles or baggage that security personnel find suspicious, or when a high alert is declared.

WR also plans to add seven dogs to its canine squad. At present, it has three dogs and three are being trained.

http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31804&articlexml=CR-to-power-up-CST-cams-with-new-26112015005014#

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Suvidha’ squads to check ticketless travel

A month ago, when M. Shounak boarded Madras-Howrah Coromandel Express, he found some unreserved passengers sitting outside the toilet. He had to complain to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel to send them back to their respective compartments.

Such instances are common on most north-bound trains, say RPF personnel. “It is extremely unsafe for women passengers. Even if the police chase them away, these passengers return,” said Mr. Shounak. As there have been many complaints about unreserved passengers entering the sleeper class and bogies reserved for the disabled, the RPF has formed a ‘suvidha’ squad. A total of 52 personnel will be part of the squad and they will work in two shifts – 5 a.m to noon and 5 p.m to midnight. “Constables will check tickets at both entrances of the compartment. There will be two constables for each bogie. They will only allow passengers who have valid tickets,” said an RPF source.

The RPF did a detailed analysis of the trains before forming the squads.

“We have identified 22 trains that face the problem of unreserved passengers travelling in reserved coaches. Most of them are trains going to various places, including Kolkata, Puri and Jaipur, from the south,” said an RPF personnel.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/suvidha-squads-to-check-ticketless-travel/article7905009.ece

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Real-life hero: RPF constable Arun Jadhav saves man from the jaws of death

A 55-year-old school teacher had a miraculous escape after slipping an falling into the gap between the platform and a train at Karjat station on Thursday afternoon.

Karjat-resident Anand Kotagari was lucky as he was pulled out in the nick of time by an on-duty Railway Protection Force constable Arun Jadhav moments before the motion of the train and the impact of the slip would have pulled Kotagari further underneath the train. According to RPF officials, the incident happened at around 2 pm when the 17222 Kurla LTT-Kakinada express was moving into platform number 1 of Karjat station. In his hurry to enter one of the coaches so that he could secure a seat for his daughter who was supposed to travel on the train, Kotagari slipped and the lower half of his body was though the gap and inches away from the sides of the under-body of the train.

“Jadhav lunged forward and held Kotagari in such a way that Kotagari didn’t slip further beneath the train. Thankfully the train was at a fairly low speed since it was entering the platform. That helped as well,” said a senior RPF official. Officials said that Kotagari was shifted to a hospital nearby where he is being treated for minor injuries. The problem of people running and catching trains, despite various drives by the railways, continues to be a serious problem. The fact that in a city like Mumbai where tracks are shared by both suburban as well as long-distance trains, and where platforms are of unequal height. don’t help matters either.

“In Mumbai the height of platforms are anything between 760mm to 900mm from the tracks. Moreover long-distance trains are about 10 feet and 6 inches wide whereas suburban trains are about 12 feet wide. Both these scenarios cause horizontal as well as vertical gaps between the platform and the under-body of the train. The chances of people slipping and falling into the gap is that much higher in Mumbai than most other places on the Indian railway network,” said a railway official.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-real-life-hero-rpf-constable-arun-jadhav-saves-man-from-the-jaws-of-death-2147025

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Railways rescue destitute children in Waltair division

In an act not strictly in its list of primary responsibilities, the Indian Railways has been rescuing destitute children who are found in running trains and railway stations and other railway properties.

According to Chandralekha Mukherjee, divisional railway manager of Waltair division of East Coast Railway (ECoR), as many as 75 destitute children including girls were rescued by the division from April to October this fiscal from 117 railway stations in its jurisdiction in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

“The railways always give top priority to safety and security. Rescuing children of passengers and destitutes is also an important task of the railways. We have succeeded in doing it. The closed circuit television system (CCTV) at the city railway station provided continuous surveillance at the railway platforms,” Mukherjee said.

Out of the 75 children, 37 children were rescued from the Visakhapatnam railway station during the period. According to the railway officials, most of the rescued children hailed from Visakha Agency, Jharkhand and some parts of neighbouring Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Some belonged to the local north coastal districts of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram.

?Railway Protection Force (RPF) inspector for Visakhapatnam railway station B Ramu said the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) formulated specific guidelines to protect children at 20 select major railway stations in the county.

“Though Visakhapatnam railway station is not in the list, we have followed the same guidelines in order to protect the destitute children on humanitarian grounds. We rescue children and hand them over to either their relatives or child welfare homes within 24 hours. If the child is able to provide information about his or her parents or contact numbers then we try to reach them. If the child fails to do so, we will follow the guidelines and rehabilitate him or her accordingly,” Ramu told TOI.

According to the guidelines, any child below 15 years of age wondering alone is rescued, he said. Ramu said that some children intentionally leave their children and come to the railway stations to board trains to go somewhere else in the country and some children are accidentally lost.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/Railways-rescue-destitute-children-in-Waltair-division/articleshow/49850190.cms

 

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Bibek Debroy: Policing the railways

I was at an ATM the other day. In the adjacent parking lot, I noticed a thief run off with a woman’s purse. I requested the security guard, “Chase that man and arrest him.” The guard shrugged and said he couldn’t because he wasn’t a policeman.

This is a story I concocted to grab your attention. However, few people outside legal circles know that in many common law jurisdictions, there are provisions for citizens to arrest individuals. That’s true of our Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) too. Section 43(1) states, “Any private person may arrest or cause to be arrested by any person who in his presence commits a non-bailable and cognisable offence, or any proclaimed offender, and, without unnecessary delay, shall make over or cause to be made over any person so arrested to a police officer, or, in the absence of a police officer, take such a person or cause him to be taken into custody to the nearest police station.”

Contrary to what some people think, RPF doesn’t stand for Railway Police Force – it is the Railway Protection Force. There is a railway police force too – it is the Government Railway Police (GRP). It is part of the state police. Law and order and policing on railways, including on trains, is the responsibility of the GRP.

The RPF was never meant to be a police force, not in the strict sense. A force doesn’t become ‘police’ unless it is ‘enrolled’ under the Police Act (1861). The RPF isn’t that, even if it is headed by someone from the Indian Police Service and even though it is an ‘armed force’ of the Union.

The history of the RPF and the evolution of police functions on railways depend on the timeline, the vintage. What was true of 1861 wasn’t true of 1921 (when a committee was set up). To state it simply, chowkidars employed in private railways metamorphosed into a watch and ward system. In 1953, this watch and ward system became the Railway Security Force, with virtually no police powers. In 1955, this force got some teeth because of the Railway Stores (Unlawful Possession) Act, but only if you were found to be in unlawful possession of railway property. Finally, in 1957, we got the RPF, but it could only investigate and prosecute for unlawful possession of railway property and also had related powers of search and arrest. There is a Railways Act of 1989, which has an entire chapter on offences against the Indian Railways (IR). Some are more serious offences than the others. Section 179(1) says, “If any person commits any offence mentioned in sections… (more serious offences), he may be arrested without warrant or other written authority by any railway servant or police officer not below the rank of a head constable.”

First, under the CrPC, anyone has the right to perform the arrest of a citizen – nothing special about the RPF. Second, there is nothing special about the RPF for Section 179(1) of the Railways Act either. Under this, a “railway servant means any person employed by the central government or by a railway administration in connection with the service of a railway”. Therefore, if the IR decides that a travelling ticket examiner should have such rights, the Railways Act authorises the IR to do this. Notice that Section 179 gives powers to arrest for cognisable offences, while Section 180 does that for non-cognisable offences. Hence, non-RPF staff (engineers, supervisors) also have the power to lodge FIRs with the GRP. Third, law and order is a state subject. States decide who possesses the powers of criminal investigation (and even lodging FIRs), regardless of amendments to the Railways Act and the RPF Act granting greater powers to the RPF. The present status quo, with multiplicity across the RPF, GRP and state (district) police, is unsatisfactory and I counted 19 committees that have recommended unification.

Scrap the RPF. Scrap the GRP. Merge the two. Recommendations across committees are assorted. The IR wants the RPF and even to increase its strength from the present 75,000. (The GRP strength is 37,500.) State governments won’t grant the RPF more powers. We are in a bind. For the GRP, the IR contributes 50 per cent of the cost, the rest is borne by the state governments. As long as we are in the bind, the GRP remains the real ‘police’. Hence, as an instance, when a new line is constructed, one needs to budget for the additional GRP (provide for 50 per cent) and do assorted stuff such as provide for their housing. With a focus on the RPF, the IR won’t do that. The GRP is neglected and the RPF has no powers. Today, among mail/express trains, around 1,300 are escorted by the RPF and around 2,200 by the GRP. As a passenger, before you expect the man with the gun on the train to do something against an offence, find out whether he is with the RPF or the GRP. By the way, on an average, it costs Rs 24 per train km to get trains protected by the RPF. For the Western Zone, the figure is as high as Rs 62. One reason for this high figure is that RPF personnel are not exclusively stationed on trains, platforms, yards and production units. Without success, I have tried to find out how many of the 75,000 are in core railway areas and how many have non-core duties. This break-up may be the reason why the RPF is favoured by the IR.
The writer is a member of the National Institution for Transforming India Aayog. The views are personal

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Braveheart RPF jawan felicitated

The braveheart jawan from the Railway Protection Force (RPF), who saved the life of a five-year-old caught in between platform and running train at Nashik Road Railway Station a few months ago, was felicitated on Tuesday with a bravery medal and cash prize of Rs 1 lakh by the railway ministry.

Constable Kailash Bodke, posted at Nashik Road railway station on June 13, saw Aditya Kadam falling into the gap between the approaching train and the platform and his father trying to save the child and immediately rushed to help. Through his presence of mind, the jawan saved the child.

“I saw the boy slipping into the gap as the train approached the station. I jumped to hold on to the child. Although the engine driver had applied emergency brakes, it would have taken some time for the train to stop. I asked the father not to pull the child as it would have only hurt him further,” Bodke said.While the child and the father suffered injures in the back, the constable was hit in the head and the neck. All three were treated and the boy discharged after five days of hospitalisation. “It was a serious situation and if the constable had not jumped in, the father would have attempted to pull the child in which the child would have faced grievous injuries – even fatality. The constable didn’t care for himself, but applied his mind knowing the situation.

This presence of mind saved the family members. Therefore his name was recommended,”BD Ipper, Police Inspector, RPF said.The constable was recognised for his bravery by the medal and the cash reward of Rs 1 lakh.The award was presented on Tuesday at the hands of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during a function held at New Delhi.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/Braveheart-RPF-jawan-felicitated/articleshow/49683075.cms

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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