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Severe shortage of RPF personnel in most railway stations worries commuters

Fear gripped G. Suresh, a retired person, when he walked into the desolate Chintradipet Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) railway station for the first time, recently.

There were no security personnel on the ground and first floors. However, when he reached the platform, he heaved a sigh of relief seeing a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable.

Most MRTS stations wear the same look, with a severe shortage of RPF personnel. Only one official patrols the entire station during a shift.

A. Sushmitha, a college student, said that a lot of men frequently get into the trains’ ladies compartments.

“If there are police personnel on duty, they are made to get down. Otherwise, they continue to occupy the compartments. It makes me feel unsafe. It is always comforting to see a law enforcer officer in the MRTS as they are often deserted,” she said.

According to sources, there is a twenty per cent shortage in the strength of the force. “In some cases, one constable patrols three stations. He has to cover the ground and middle floors as well as the platforms. He also has to check the various exits in the station. It becomes impossible to cover all these places,” said a source.

As there is no proper drinking water facility in the stations, the RPF constables are forced to bring water from home and carry it with them while patrolling.

“The toilet facilities in the stations, too, are not adequate. The constables are under stress. There is an urgent need to enhance the strength of the force,” the source said.

The recruitment of more RPF personnel is now underway. “But it will take at least a year or more to recruit and train them,” said the source.

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