The Indian Railways will soon entrust the Railway Protection Force (RPF) as the sole agency responsible for passenger safety and security.
Railways have decided to table the Passengers Security Bill, 2011, in the winter session of Parliament, which seeks withdrawal of the Government Railway Police (GRP) from the railway premises and empowering the RPF to deal with crime cases.
Currently, RPF looks after securing railway property and restricting events such as trespassing and unauthorised entries in the railway premises while any act of heinous crime, such as robbery, dacoity or murder in railway premises, are registered and investigated by the GRP.
However, overlapping of jurisdiction and paperwork between the two agencies concerned often lands a commuter in trouble. “If the crime takes place on a train plying between Mumbai and Delhi, there is a dispute between the GRP of different states about lodging a case. With the RPF becoming the only agency dealing with crime, such problems will not occur,” said a senior RPF official.
A committee appointed by the railway ministry studied security system on the transport agencies across 13 countries.
The panel also studied performance of the RPF on the Konkan Railway, where there is no GRP and found that the rate of crime detection was high.
With this bill, the RPF will be converted into federal police, and will have the authority of registering cases under the Indian Penal Code.
“We have obtained no objection certificate from the state police for removal of the GRP. The proposed bill has received in-principle clearance from the home and law ministry,” a senior railway ministry official said.
With the approval of this bill, RPF will become the first paramilitary force to have policing powers.