With 17,000 Constables to be inducted into the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in the coming months, the RPF Training Centre at Tiruchi, the lone training establishment of the force in the Southern Railway zone, has geared up to train another batch of new recruits.

This time around, the training - theoretical and practical, is to be imparted to 400 recruits at the sprawling campus at Khajamalai which is likely to start by August.

In addition to existing instructors at the training centre, a few more field-level RPF officers are expected to be drawn to train the recruits, say RPF officials.

The syllabus for the trainees would be prescribed by the RPF headquarters at New Delhi. The recruits would undergo six-and-half months training – indoor and outdoor – on a slew of subjects that includes law, RPF Act and handling different types of weapons prior to their induction into the force.

A senior RPF officer from the zonal headquarters at Chennai inspected the training centre a few days ago to ascertain the facilities available in the establishment.

The recruitment of Constables on a massive scale is to fill up the vacancies all over the country and to strengthen security on board trains and in stations. The Southern Railway zone constitutes of six railway divisions – Chennai, Tiruchi, Madurai, Salem, Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram.

In Tiruchi Railway Division alone, the shortfall in manpower strength is 180. As against the sanctioned strength of 660, the actual strength was 480, said officials.

The RPF is vested with the additional responsibility of escorting trains since 2004 consequent to an amendment in the RPF Act.