GRP and RPF are working in unison to provide escort to passengers throughout the journey, writes R.RAJARAM

With the number of trains and passenger traffic on the rise, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has worked out a flexible mechanism to make sure that all long distance trains are covered either by its men or Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel to provide escort on board.

Towards this direction, the GRP has maximised its manpower strength to deploy train beats on almost all long distance trains passing through the limits of Tiruchi Railway Police district which has a vast jurisdiction under its ambit.

With its work force increasing by 200, the GRP is now in a position to deploy the newly inducted constables on “train beats” as well after giving them an orientation on railway-related policing.

At present, the GRP and the RPF deploy their personnel for escort on board long distance trains. There are trains in which personnel of both agencies are deployed for escort duty.

Encompassing Chennai and Tiruchi railway police districts, the GRP has fixed and cut beats in place for its personnel deployed for train beat duty.

Those deployed for “fixed beat” will travel in the train from the starting point to the final destination station while those posted in the “cut beat” alight once their jurisdiction ends only to be taken over by their colleagues of the neighbouring railway district.

In the wake of increase in the number of trains and rise in passenger traffic over the years, it was decided at a recent joint meeting in Chennai attended by top GRP and RPF officers that express train should not be left uncovered and that it should have either GRP or RPF personnel on board, say GRP sources.

Accordingly, the GRP has worked out a flexible mechanism as per which it proposes to cover 51 out of the 97 express trains (in both directions) passing through the limits of Tiruchi Railway Police jurisdiction every day.

The rest would be a combo covered by the RPF and the GRP, the sources added.

The GRP men would be deployed for specific escort duty in case of train travel of a VIP or a high profile leader coming under the “protected” category. The GRP covers many weekly and special trains.

Realising that offences such as baggage lifting and eve-teasing occurred more in passenger than express trains, the GRP has decided to deploy “crime prevention beats” randomly in passenger trains operating in Tiruchi Railway Police district limits.

The jurisdiction of Tiruchi Railway Police district starts from Vikrandi near Villupuram and goes on up to Kuzhithurai near Kanyakumari in the north–south direction. It starts from Karaikal and extends up to Palani in the east–west direction.

Even in the midst of manpower shortage, the endeavour is that a train should not be left uncovered and that there is visible deployment on platforms to thwart offences, said a senior GRP officer.

Although the sanctioned strength of the GRP, Tiruchi, is a little over 1,400, its actual strength comes to around 1,050. The sources say around 85 more personnel will soon be joining the GRP, Tiruchi which will reduce the vacancy to about 150.

This year, till now, a number of 101 crime cases such as chain snatching, baggage lifting and robbery were booked in various railway police stations falling under the Tiruchi Railway Police district. While the value of stolen property exceeded Rs. 69 lakh, the worth of the recovered property was Rs.33 lakh.