Deccan Express: Safety and security is one of the priority areas by Indian Railways. Apart from safety and security of passengers, Railway Protection Force (RPF) has contributed in a big way during Covid-19 in Indian Railways efforts to sustain its fight against the virus. During the pandemic, RPF remained on the forefront of Indian Railway’s efforts like security of parked rolling stock, providing food to the needy, escorting all Shramik Special trains, handling 45 deliveries and about 34 medical emergencies in Shramik Specials.
RPF has formulated a special plan ‘Reach out, secure and rehabilitate’ for protecting Covid orphans. RPF has initiated a drive to identify children in distress at station/in trains or in nearby towns/villages/hospitals orphaned due to Covid. The staff is sensitized to provide special attention to the children impacted due to the spread of pandemic COVID-19. People in the nearby areas and passengers visiting stations are sensitized regarding the services and facilities available nearby for children in distress situations. One nodal RPF personnel for each child is responsible from the time the child is secured to the time of his/her rehabilitation.
Many incidents of RPF personnel risking their own lives while saving the precious lives at stations were reported. 9 Jeewan Raksha Medals and 01 Gallantry Medal awarded to RPF personnel by Hon’ble President of India since 2018 for saving lives.
Induction of ladies in large number in RPF gave impetus to Indian Railway’s efforts to improve women security. Recruitment of 10568 vacancies in RPF was completed in 2019. After CBT, PET/PMT, Document verification, Medical examination and Police verification, recruitment was concluded. The percentage of women in RPF prior to recruitment was 3% (2312), post recruitment, it is 9% (6242). RPF is the central force having highest share of women in its ranks.
Meri Saheli initiative launched by RPF from 17th Oct. 2020 across zones has given focused attention to women travelling alone in long distance trains. A team of young lady RPF personnel interact with them at originating station, en-route till terminating station.
Security of Female passengers has been upgraded by RPF by formation of Special Lady Squads like Bhairvi, Virangna, Shakti. Escorting of all ladies special trains in metro cities and local trains by Railway Protection Force is being ensured. Focused deployment during late night and early morning local trains. Gender sensitization / passenger awareness programmes are carried out regularly. Continuous drives against offenders travelling in ladies coaches is a regular exercise by RPF personnel. About 129500 (from 2019 to 2021 up to May) male passengers traveling in ladies coaches were arrested under section 162 of Railway Act and prosecuted by Railway Protection Force.
RPF has played an important role in the rescue of children. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) finalized in consultation with Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD). Child Help Desks manned by nominated NGOs functional at 132 stations till 2020. Total 56318 children have been rescued from 2017 up to May2021. Total 976 Children rescued from traffickers, from 2018 up to May 2021.
RPF continues to assist passengers in order to make their journey comfortable. Grievance redressal, recovery of left over luggage and security related calls are some of the key areas where RPF plays an active role.
Total 22835 cases (from 2019 up to May 2021) of left over luggage containing items valued Rs 37.13 Crores restored to rightful owners. Total 37275 genuine security related calls in last two years (2019-20) received on All India Railway Security Helpline 182 and redressed. Helpline 182 was merged with 139 RailMadad w.e.f. 01.04.2021. 8258 security related 139 calls redressed in April and May 2021.
Railway Flood Relief Team (RFRT)- An RPF disaster relief initiative has been launched for reaching out and providing succor to passengers stranded in trains due to flooding. The Team can carry water, food, medicines etc. It works in close coordination with other rescue and relief agencies and on a well laid out SOP. 15 RPF men/women trained by NDRF and 75 more being trained. 05 Motorised inflatable boats with safety equipments procured and stationed at 05 vulnerable locations. It can team up with Civil Administration for such operations outside Railway also.