नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Seeking to enhance safety of passengers and protect its assets, the Railway Ministry wants to take over operational control of Government Railway Police but is facing opposition from various states, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Responding to a volley of questions on the safety of passengers, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said that in a bid to integrate the role of GRP and Railway Protection Force (RPF), the Centre had written to the states as the Ministry wanted to take over the operational control of GRP.
He said 17 states have opposed the idea while some have supported it.
As of now, GRP comes under the control of the state governments, while the Railways pays 50 per cent of the amount spent on salaries of GRP personnel. The RPF comes under the control of the Railways Ministry. Law and order is a state subject, he pointed out.
Seeking to enhance crime solving capabilities of RPF, the ministry plans to set up its own forensic lab which will be linked to the main labs functioning under the Home Ministry.
“To create a more effective security mechanism over Indian Railways, a proposal for amendment in the RPF Act has been moved by the Ministry of Railways with the approval of the Ministries of Law and Home Affairs. This will empower the RPF to deal with serious crimes in passenger areas,” Prabhu said in a written reply.
He said though some sensitivities are involved, there is a proposal to instal CCTV cameras in train compartments. He said some people are concerned about the privacy aspect.
Responding to questions on safety of women passengers, Prabhu said eight ‘mahila vahinis’ (women squads) have been sanctioned with a total strength of 1,056 personnel to ensure protection of women passengers.
On cases relating to harassment of women and children reported in trains, he said this year up to October, 245 such cases were reported. While in 2011, 106 cases were reported, the figure went up to 165 in 2012 and 242 in 1013.