The Railway Police department is functioning with a shortage of 140 personnel even as per the staff strength sanctioned in 1992, even though the number of trains entrusted to it has increased manifold to 366.
Against a sanctioned strength of 1,500 personnel, there are only 1,350 posts. So, the security of several trains is compromised, especially due to the shortage of escort officers. There have been several instances of criminals and anti-social elements using trains to smuggle weapons and narcotics taking advantage of the slack security.
As a short-term interim measure, the Railway Police have been forced to take the help of Home Guard jawans and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to escort trains.
“We have written to the Railway Board to fill 150 vacancies and have sent a proposal to increase the sanctioned forced, according to the increased number of trains. This translates into another 150 men,” said additional director general of police (ADGP) Railways, Rohit Chaudhary. He added they were struggling to get sufficient staff to escort the trains. “We cannot recruit staff without the permission of the Railways. I have written to the Railway Board for recruitment,” he added.
Bounty-tme for criminals
Taking advantage of the shortage of staff, anti-social elements and criminals have been using trains to smuggle narcotics and even arms. Around six months ago, Railway Police recovered three pistols in Amritsar. Even seven pistols were recently recovered from the Samjhauta Express, found to be hidden in toilets, recently.