CHENNAI: Rail passengers trying to access the Government Railway Police (GRP) Station at the Chennai Central Railway Station often find it difficult to locate the station as it is situated on the first floor of a commercial establishment there.
Police say though they have been making several requests to railway authorities to shift the station to a prominent location near the platforms ever since it was established in 1981, no headway has been made on this demand.
Sabu K. Jose (32) from Kottayam, Kerala lost his hand luggage at the Chennai Central during his recent business visit to Chennai. A desperate attempt by him to lodge a police complaint in this regard failed as he wasn’t able to locate the railway police station on the Chennai Central premises.
Sabu is one of the many passengers at the railway station who have a tough time locating the police station during an emergency as it remains ‘hidden’ on the first floor at the western end of the station.
According to police sources, the railway police station staffed with Tamil Nadu police personnel has been functioning from its present location since 1981. Frustrated by the lack of response to shift the station, the policemen installed name and sign boards at many points inside the Central station to guide passengers to the first floor police station. However, most passengers still find it difficult to locate the station without difficulty.
In a week the station receives a minimum of five cases of ‘baggage missing’ from the passengers, a sub inspector attached to the police station, says. He adds that their reaction time to most cases is delayed prolonged as the victims find it hard to locate the police station to lodge a complaint.
Some victims who approach the Railway Protection Force (RPF) station opposite the motorcycle parking area near the Moor market complex are directed to the Railway police station as baggage thefts or passenger problems doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the RPF.
Apart from the accessibility hindrance, police personnel at the GRP face yet another hard task this summer– a first floor work place with a hotel’s kitchen on the ground floor.
The kitchen of a hotel is right under the station and the heat from the huge stoves below becomes unbearable on top especially during the summer season, police personnel complain.
A senior police officer with the railway police said that nothing had changed even after a written request for a change of location was submitted to Southern Railway authorities in mid 2007 and the end of 2008.
When contacted, Subodh Kumar Kulshrestha, Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai, said that steps would be taken to shift the police station to a visible spot if the public are finding it difficult to locate during distress. “We will hold talks with the senior police personnel about arranging a permanent cubicle on the ground floor close to the GRP control room,” Mr. Kulshrestha said.