‘RPF Mumbai’, an app to monitor RPF officials;

RPF men won’t be able to duck duty now

rpf-patrollingMumbai: The RPF officials who preferred to run away from their duties will have nowhere to go now as the Western Railway RPF have launched an internal mobile application called ‘RPF Mumbai‘ which would patrol movement of the RPF staff and determine their position.

Long-distance train passengers on the Western line may have some respite as Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel will no longer be able to duck escort duty. E-patrolling, where personnel will have to scan their handsets against acrylic plates bearing QR codes, has kicked off in trains and at railway yards. Senior officers can now remotely check if personnel are patrolling locations assigned to them and at what time.

RPF escorts 46 long-distance trains on WR but commuters have often complained that nobody comes to their aid when in distress. “As a pilot, compartments in six trains will be fitted with the plates: Vadodara Express, Avantika Exp, Mumbai Central-Jaipur Exp and Saurashtra Exp. Personnel have to patrol around 50 locations, including railway yards, depots and alongside tracks daily. Under the e-patrolling scheme, they will have to click selfies at the spot and then scan it against the plates,” said Anand Vijay Jha, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (WR).

‘RPF Mumbai’, a smart phone app, has been developed by Gujarat’s SM Techno Consultants for Western Railway. It can be downloaded on Android phones from the Google PlayStore. RPF personnel will be assigned a username and password. They will have to log in to the app once. “On scanning the handset, their exact latitude and longitude will be captured on the plate and will be stored on a cloud-server real-time along with timing and his photo. Personnel will have to scan their handsets at a number of locations. We are aware of the time it will take for personnel to reach a location from the other, so ducking patrol or escort duty will not be possible,” Jha said.

The mobile application ‘RPF Mumbai’ will ask its officials to register on the application. Once the registration is done then the officials will be given QR codes which will be available at different places, the QR codes will be available in long distance trains as well. The RPF staff while starting their duty will have to take a picture of the QR code available in the police stations and then while on patrolling the QR codes will be available at different points.

Further, while patrolling the long distance trains the QR codes will be put up in different coaches and the RPF staff will have to take the pictures and upload it on the application.

Anand Vijay Jha, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Western Railway, said, “The application will not only help us in e patrolling but will also provide information about any new updates from the railway board to the RPF staff directly. The application will help us to work better.”

QR codes in long distance train

Currently the QR codes are installed in three long distance trains including Avantika Express, Saurashtra Express and Vadodara Express. After seeing the performance in these three trains the Western Railway RPF further plans to introduce the QR codes on all the 46 long distance trains it monitors.

New RPF Stations

The Western Railway has introduced three new RPF police stations. Bombay Central Local which will be equipped with 56 RPF staff,  Nalasopara with 39 RPF staff and Malad with 36 RPF staff. The Bombay Central Local RPF police station will cover station premises of Grant Road, Bombay Central, Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel. The Malad RPF police station will cover station premises of Goregaon and Malad and the Nalasaopra will cover only Nalasopara station.

A common complaint on long-distance trains is the presence of unauthorised hawkers. “We have formed teams to conduct surprise crackdowns on trains. But the problem will persist on trains without pantry cars. There is a demand-supply gap and hawkers will continue to board. The railways must have authorised hawkers for trains without pantry cars,” an official said. To stop hawkers from foot overbridges and station areas, the RPF has started deducting salaries of staff in whose jurisdiction they continue to operate.
Meanwhile, nearly 500 handbooks exhorting women commuters to report sexual harassment have been distributed among travellers on WR by Amnesty International. An informational jingle, ‘Report Karo’, was released by Amnesty International along with the railways on Thursday to reach out to women who have faced violence on railway premises.

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