Stone Pelting: Palakkad Railway Division barely guarded

rahultrainPalakkad:  As Preethamol, 23, a nurse, lay groggy after a surgery of  her left eye in the hospital, the railway police still are clueless about the attackers who threw stones at  the train she was travelling in.

This is the second such incident reported in the Palakkad railway division after another passenger suffered a serious head injury in a similar attack near Madhukara last week. The officials, however, are finding it difficult  to work out a strategy to curb the menace due to  the shortage of security staff.

There are only 276 Railway Protection Force personnel for security duty in the division having 578 route kilometre area spread over Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Similarly, the number of policemen deputed by the Kerala police to manage the six railway police stations from Thrissur to Kasargod is also insufficient with just 250-odd men to manage six railway police stations under it.

Of the total police staff, 40 per cent of the staff are often given other duties, making available only 50 per cent of them  for security duty at the stations and on trains,’’  pointed out a senior railway official in Palakkad.

According to him, the shortfall of security officials began with bifurcation of Palakkad divion a few years back when a  number of the RPF personnel were shifted to the Salem division while Palakkad is yet to be compensated for this loss.

While the rules provide for at least four RPF personnel, including women officers, on patrol duty in each of the trains, we have limited this service to the major trains running night-time,’’  he added.