Railway employees say manpower does not match the number of trains introduced

The plan to add 17,000 more personnel to the Railway Protection Force will depend on the number of trains run and areas vulnerable to thefts in a region. Since passengers in the south are disciplined and rarely violate rules, Kerala and Tamil Nadu may see only a marginal increase in the RPF, say railway employees.

It is not about appointing more RPF personnel but about filling vacancies, including those for TTEs, says V. Lokaiah Naidu, a pensioner.

Vacancies cause concern

Railway employees say the manpower does not match the number of trains introduced. Every time the government announces new trains or extension of a train, loco operators worry about existing vacancies. “At least 20 per cent of posts in the loco-running cadre are vacant. When the government announces a new train, there must be guidelines. If high-speed trains are proposed to be introduced, it is necessary to eliminate low-speed tracks, especially in suburbs. This requires allocation of funds, which does not find a mention in the budget. Though for decades the Railways have been trying to eliminate level crossings, fund allocation is low. This will affect the speed of trains too,” said V. Balachandran, working president of the All India Loco Running Staff Association, Chennai.