The Railway Protection Force (RPF), Thiruvananthapuram Division, will deploy plainclothes women as decoys to apprehend those who harass women and children on platforms and in carriages during rail journeys.
Talking to The Hindu on ‘Operation Octopus,’ a security drive conducted by the RPF on Monday, Commissioner, RPF, Rajanish Tripathi said the primary focus of the paramilitary unit this year would be to insulate the Central railway station, its platforms, and trains that commence journey from here, from sabotage and other security breaches.
He said the presence of unauthorised persons on platforms and inside carriages were the main threat to railway security. The RPF special drive resulted in the detention of 443 persons on charges of ticketless travel. It also resulted in the seizure of a licensed fire-arm, a 12-bore double barrel breach loading gun, from a person who was not authorised to carry it.
The drive also focussed on preventing unauthorised parking in the “circulation area” of the Central station. The RPF will conduct surprise checks twice every month. Its men will focus on preventing passengers from carrying inflammable substances, including liquor, on board trains.
Mr. Tripathi said false declaration of the nature of goods transported in bulk and otherwise to evade tax, transport of contraband items, including narcotic drugs such as marijuana, transport of large quantities of Indian and foreign currency, drunkenness on trains, illegal supply of liquor and tobacco products to passengers, and harassment of women and children were issues such security drives hoped to address.
The Central railway station handled between 5 and 6 lakh passengers daily and as many as 135 trains. Ensuring its security was a complex task.
The RPF has sought more security cameras, baggage scanners, motion detectors, vehicle scanners, bomb detection and disposal equipment, door frame-fitted metal detectors, sniffer dogs and armed quick reaction teams. It will also conduct a security audit of the Central, Pettah and Veli railway stations. There would be more fire fighting and mass evacuation drills at these stations.
Identity cards must
Mr. Tripathi said the RPF has asked all Southern Railway personnel, including those employed by its various contractors, to carry their identity cards at all time. No one will be allowed to loiter on platforms.
The RPF has also identified certain sections of the railway tracks in the Thiruvananthapuram division, which stretches from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu to Shoranur in North Kerala, for intensive monitoring and patrolling. These included stretches where there have been instances of attempted sabotage and accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles in the past.