The rail ministry last month launched a mobile application for ensuring safety and security of women passengers in Mumbai suburban trains. That, however, was just the beginning. Union minister for railways, Suresh Prabhu has chalked out at least seven key ideas that will be implemented soon to beef up the poor passenger security record of the railways. The ministry is planning to create a data bank of criminals and ensuring intelligence gathering in advance. The idea is to track criminals expeditiously and arrest them for trial. Prabhu has already sought help from the forensic departments of multiple state governments for creation of the first-of-its-kind databank for use by Railway Protection Force (RPF) and General Railway Police (GRP). Prabhu’s office is also busy chalking out a plan to roll out “Mahila Vahini”, a specially-trained force to check crimes against women in railway premises and trains. “A proposal for the creation of the Special Force has been sent to both the Finance Ministry and the Home Ministry , ” Prabhu recently said.
The issue needs urgent attention of agencies given the recent rise in instances of attacks on modesty of women.Also, Indian Railways is already working on installing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in passenger coaches and platforms after addressing privacy issues to keep a constant eye on criminal activity. Such electronic surveillance to detect criminal activity has already been deployed successfully in the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) network in the national capital. Suresh Prabhu recently told a gathering of Director Generals of Police (DGPs) of two dozen states he also intends to use ex-army personnel to manage security on Indian Railways network and infrastructure. He has plans to put in place a mechanism for regular sensitivity training for railway security forces to sensitize them of the passengers safety related issues. The rail ministry is also mulling working out a mechanism for immediate evacuation and shifting of injured persons from railway premises to hospitals so as to save precious human lives . The recent spate of accidents on trains, including fire in coaches and derailments, highlight the need for such speedy action in the aftermath of an incident. Lastly, the Railway Minister is exploring the possibility of imposing on-the-sport fine on the lines of traffic violation fine, in case of any security violation . The ministry is trying to empower the Train Ticket Examiners (TTEs) to move quickly to get an First Information Report (FIR) booked in case of violations and also address the issue of jurisdictional complexities of forces – RPF, GRP and district police.