The areas to be manned by private security agencies and home guards

Acting on the Railway Board’s instructions, a high-level committee of Railway Protection Force (RPF) has identified non-core areas in the Southern Railway zone which could be manned by private security agencies or home guards.

The panel, set up on the direction of the RPF Chief Security Commissioner, Southern Railway, obtained inputs from various railway divisions falling within the zone while identifying non-core areas of railway security where its personnel are currently deployed.

The report and suggestions of the committee was forwarded to the RPF Chief Security Commissioner recently for onward submission to the Railway Board. The panel consists of RPF Divisional Security Commissioners of Tiruchi, Madurai, and Thiruvananthapuram.

The committee has identified railway hospitals, patrolling and guarding of railway colonies, guarding general manager and divisional railway managers’ offices and residences, providing security to cycle/motorcycle stand in railway offices, guarding other railway offices and any other unscheduled duties not connected directly with train operations “non-core” areas.

It said that the identified non-core areas could be manned by engaging private security agencies under the control of the jurisdictional RPF inspector. The non-core activities where home guards personnel could be utilised to assist RPF personnel has also been put forth.

It said the duties of RPF had taken a new dimension consequent to the amendment of the RPF and Railway Acts with the personnel vested with the additional responsibility of safeguarding passengers and passenger areas besides guarding railway property.

The panel also submitted that safety and security of passengers and passenger areas, escorting trains, access control duty, investigation under railway passengers rule, manning and maintenance of security gadgets provided to the force under the integrated security scheme, aiding the local police, and guarding vital installations could be declared “core” areas.

The Railway Board had instructed all railway zones across the country to identify non-core areas, RPF officials said adding that the board would take a final call on this matter.

The whole idea is to accord more attention to security and re-deploy in the long run RPF personnel from non-core areas to perform core security duty for effective functioning. This way, the manpower shortfall faced by the force could be addressed to some extent, the officials added. Training for the next batch of constable recruits is expected to begin in August next year.