Railway passengers may soon have to bid adieu to their near and dear ones at the entrance of the platform. Thanks to the increasing incidents of anti-national elements finding their way into railway stations to wreak havoc on innocent passengers, the Railway Police are toying with the idea of implementing some tough decisions.

A high alert has been sounded in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and other major junctions following the detection of 125 kg detonators at Guntur Railway Station.

Superintendent of Police (Government Railway Police) Ch. Syam Prasad, whose jurisdiction extends over nine districts from Vijayawada to Itchapuram, came here on Saturday to review the security arrangements.

The detection of the detonators close on the heels of Intelligence reports hinting at a possible strike by extremist elements at major railway stations in the State is a pointer to the vulnerability of our railway stations.

“We are planning to restrict the movement of unauthorised persons in the platforms and trains in future. This will be something like air passengers having to see off their near and dear ones before they move on for the security check. Even unauthorised hawkers would not be allowed on the platforms and trains as they could pose serious security threats,” Mr. Syam Prasad told The Hindu here on Saturday. “A meeting was held with the Divisional Railway Manager of Vijayawada and we (GRP) sought permission for unscheduled stops for checking of unauthorised persons and hawkers on trains. Non-bailable warrants would be issued against any unauthorised person found on trains or platforms. In future, criminal cases would also be registered on such persons for trespass of railway property.”

When his attention was drawn to the loss of livelihood by the poor hawkers, Mr. Syam Prasad said: “Jeopardising the lives of hundreds of passengers cannot be allowed even if that meant loss of livelihood for some.”

“Not even a single case of snatching or robbery on trains was reported this year in Vijayawada Railway Police District so far due to increased patrolling on night trains. Last year, 30 cases of chain snatchings were reported. Most of these cases occur during the hot summer months,” he said.

He admitted that security equipment like baggage scanners and metal detectors were not available with the GRP at Visakhapatnam Railway Station but added that the GRP was sharing the equipment available with Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the city police.

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