The city’s security has been on high alert since the 13/7 triple blasts and again after the Delhi blasts. On Tuesday, there was a bomb scare at Mumbai Central station. However it was found to be a hoax.
Through out this time, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) that plays an instrumental role in the suburban railway security at the Central Railway (CR) stations had been working at staff strength of almost one fourth less than that required. The RPF mans 54 railway stations on the Central Railway line from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to Kasara, Khopoli, Panvel on three routes.
RPF is facing a staff shortage of about 524 personnel out of the sanctioned 2259 members. The designations that are vacant include the executive officers, who are placed at the railway stations, officers from its intelligence wing and Mahila Vahini (special women officers). Also, the dog squad is deficient by 18 numbers.
“Our officers are mainly stationed at the major stations. We have to make more use of security systems at the other stations due to lack of force,” said Pravin Sinha, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF.
The executive force that is positioned at the railway stations to check the security and also at the ‘May I help you’ desk is falling short of 499 staffers. The sanctioned strength is 2103. The employees in the intelligence wing, who work in plain clothes to check for the security threats, are lacking 20 people out of the sanctioned strength of 40 people.
Sinha said they have been demanding more staff in vain from the railway ministry. “Although our force is stressed with the workload, we have to wait till the recruitments are sanctioned,” he said.