नई दिल्ली New Delhi: If the railway ministry has its way, the Government Railway Police (GRP) may be abolished and the security of passengers and criminal investigation of crimes happening in railway’s jurisdiction may be handed over to Railway Protection Force (RPF).
The RPF is under the ministry and currently looks after railway property.
A proposal in this connection is likely to come up in the conference on rail security to be attended by home secretaries and DGPs of state on January 15.
This is not the first time that this proposal has been forwarded. In 2003 this issue was discussed and scrapped as the states vetoed any such move which may disrupt the passenger security and law and order at railway stations.
The issue came up in September when the then railway minister Sadananda Gowda had forwarded the request for the amendment of the Railway Protection Force Act to enable the RPF to deal with passenger related offences. But the move got stuck in limbo due to Madhya Pradesh and other states not concurring to the proposal and Gowda subsequently being replaced by Suresh Prabhu.
But the step is seen to be detrimental to passenger safety and security to railway officials as RPF, they claim, has neither the investigation ability and required infrastructure nor the intelligence network. The proposal was mooted in 2003 as well but states vetoed it on similar grounds.
Delhi Police and the GRP have opposed the move citing several reasons including crime prevention & detection, law and order and investigations getting affected.
“RPF doesn’t have infrastructure or skilled manpower to mount surveillance, generate intelligence and carry out picket checkings based on local intelligence/inputs. Most crimes happen at railway station’s parking areas, yards, concourse, ticketing counters, platforms, tracks etc which can be better handled with the local railway police. These crimes are not happening on the go that they can be handled by the RPF,” said the letter written by the Delhi Police.
The Delhi Police also says that with such a move coming into effect, the law and order will be effected as well. “Maintaining law and order involves deployment based on local intelligence about prevailing disputes and tensions, preventive detention of miscreants and coordinating with the local police who GRP is a part of. Terrorists and criminals mostly use trains to commute and transport illegal stuff. State police can keep a regular watch on the movements. Two agencies will be to the advantages of the criminals,” a senior railway police officer said.
The cops are also of the view that at times, crimes take place after a train is stopped between two stations. Here, only local GRPs can come to rescue, they say. The RPF, on the other hand, says it is open to accepting the new challenge and can handle it efficiently given the vacancies are filled up.