New Delhi: To curb crimes against women travellers, Railways today said an all-India mobile application service will be launched through which immediate help from the Railway Protection Force could be availed.
Female train commuters in distress can now seek immediate police assistance at the touch of a button — courtesy a mobile app launched recently by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. “Some zonal railways such as Western Railway have launched mobile application for providing security to women passengers besides installing CCTV in trains,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the RPF Investiture Parade ceremony in New Delhi.
The App, a security and safety measure, is being developed in coordination with RPF. Designed in-house by the Eastern Railway (ER), the App – Railway Mobile Instant Tracking Response and Assistance (R-MITRA) – immediately sends alerts to the nearest Railway Protection Force (RPF) inspector as well as the Divisional Security Control Room (DSCR) providing location as well as the identity of the victim.
Since railways is the soft target from unscrupulous elements and divisive forces, there will be a strategic cell for RPF to tackle the growing threat from such elements, a senior official said.
“As soon as a female commuter in any kind of distress presses the emergency button on the app, her identification and her location will be immediately sent to the nearest RPF inspector and the DSCR who can then immediately take adequate response,” ER general manager R.K. Gupta said.
“Since the commuter will be on the move, the app will alert the RPF personnel at the next two stations. Using GPS and GPRS, the location of the woman in distress can be tracked in real-time at the DSCR,” said Gupta.
The app can also be used to send photos of the assaulter as well as to communicate with the railway authorities through messages or call. It works both online and offline and is currently available for android users only — but the ER is working on extending the facility to iOS phones.
Available only for passengers of suburban trains services on Eastern Railway, the facility will be extended to other divisions as well as the South Eastern Railway, Gupta said.
Describing passengers safety as one of the biggest challenges of the railways, Prabhu said technology can help the national carrier in providing better security.
“Railways carry about 2.7 crore to three crore commuters daily and having adequate police-commuter ratio is not possible. Technology has a large part to play in bridging the gap and we are happy to have developed this app in such a short span of time,” said Prabhu.
“In order to assess the threat perception, RPF needs a strategic cell. We need a change in the system and for this adequate funds will be provided to RPF,” Prabhu said.
Focusing the need for technology upgradation, he said, “sometime there are attempts to obstruct the economic development by obstructing the rail movement. There is a requirement for technology upgradation and training of RPF personnel to prevent such incidents.”
Dwelling on the menace of without ticket travel in trains, Prabhu said, “there will be a massive drive against the without ticket travellers. A drive has already been launched against the touts involved in cornering tickets in illegal way.”
Stressing the need for coordination with the state police, Railway Minister said he has written letters to all Chief Ministers requesting cooperation from states on the subject.
“RPF along with GRP will also work to prevent theft in railways and there is a need for coordination with the state police to prevent theft in railways. I have written to all CMs for better coordination with the state police to check crime in trains effectively. There is a requirement of seamless policing for effective control of crime,” he said.