Railway Protection Force (RPF) tasked with the responsibility of security of railway property, station area, and passengers has been working round the clock to provide a safe, secure, and comfortable travel experience to the commuters in India. RPF has ably discharged the responsibility of protecting huge railways assets spread far and wide across the nation by taking preventive measures and detecting crime against railway property. The force has become a crucial stakeholder in the country's security grid by playing essential roles in internal security, maintaining law and order and providing arrangements during national and state elections.
Actions To Curb Spread Of COVID-19
During the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, RPF escorted 522 Oxygen Special Trains from originating station to their destinations. The COVID-19 help booths were made operational at the significant stations who gathered verified details from several sources and provided information regarding the availability of COVID resources and providing immediate help to the needy. According to PIB, the men in uniform ensured the implementation of COVID appropriate behaviour as per the protocols like wearing of mask, sanitisation and maintaining social distancing. Last year, 26 RPF personnel laid their lives on the altar of duty due to a COVID infection.
Saved Many Precious Lives
In 2021, RPF personnel saved 601 persons without caring for their safety, going far beyond their call of duty. Gyan Chand, Head Constable, showed immense courage and sacrificed his life while saving the life of a lady attempting to commit suicide on March 2, last year, at Bharwari Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh. RPF rescues people in mission mode under "Mission Jeewan Raksha". Under this mission, they saved 1650 lives from the wheels of the running trains at railway stations in the last four years. President Ram Nath Kovind awarded nine Jeewan Raksha medals and one Gallantry Medals to recognise their efforts in saving lives in the last four years.
Ensuring Safety Of Women
An initiative, "Meri Saheli", was launched to provide security to female passengers in long-distance trains, especially to those who travel alone or those vulnerable to crime. RPF deployed 244 "Meri Saheli" teams at major railway stations across the country to ensure women travel safely. To meet the purpose, RPF collects feedback from these women passengers at the end of their journeys to assess the efficacy of the initiative and how to better it.
Train to escort, CCTV cameras at 840 stations and nearly 4000 coaches, lady escorts in ladies special suburban trains, regular drives against unauthorised passengers in ladies coaches etc. were some of the other preventive measures taken to ensure the security of the lady passengers.
RPF is an immediate responder in the cases of Human Trafficking through rail transport and plays a crucial role in curbing this menace. In 2021, the RPF personnel rescued 630 people from the clutches of human traffickers, including 54 women, 94 minor girls, 81 men and 401 minor boys.
RPF has played an important role in reuniting the children lost or separated due to various reasons from their family and rescued over 11,900 children in need of care and protection, which came in contact with the Indian Railways. Over 100 Child Help Desks are functional across the country; wherein RPF works with the nominated NGO to rescue them.
Action Against Criminals
Policing is the responsibility of the states and union territories, which they discharge through GRPor District Police on the railways. RPF supplements the efforts of police in the prevention and detection of crime against railway passengers. In 2021, RPF arrested more than 3000 criminals involved in offences against passengers and handed them over to the concerned police.
Protecting And Safeguarding Railway Property
As per its mandate to safeguard railway property, RPF arrested 8744 persons involved in such crime and recovered stolen railway property worth Rs. 5.83 crores last year.
Action Against Touts
During the COVID-19 pandemic, limited passenger train operation was restored after the government relaxed curbs. To maintain the rush in the trains to implement COVID protocols, only passengers having reserved accommodation in trains were allowed to travel. This provided touts an opportunity to run the business of procuring and selling reserved tickets on premium rates illegally. To stop this, RPF acted swiftly and made sustained drives against such persons, registering more than 4,100 cases and arresting over 4,600 offenders. Future journey tickets cornered by these touts illegally to the tune of Rs 2.8 crores were also forfeited from them.
Action Against Narcotics
Having been empowered under the NDPS Act in 2019, RPF succeeded in recovering narcotics to the value of more than Rs. 15.7 crores followed with the apprehension of 620 drug peddlers during 2021.
Making Travel Comfortable For Elderly, Women And Specially-Abled Persons
In 2021, RPF was constantly assisting the persons in need of help, especially older adults, sick people, pregnant women, persons with physical disabilities, with a humanitarian approach. To ensure their safe travel, RPF has apprehended more than 25,000 persons unauthorisedly travelling in the coaches reserved for ladies and 9307 individuals from the coaches reserved for persons with disabilities.
More than 80,000 calls and complaints from passengers in distress on Toll-Free Helpline and Twitter related to security were promptly attended to and resolved.
In 2021, RPF retrieved left behind luggage valued at more than 23 crores belonging to 12377 passengers and returned to them after due verification. The force has been serving passengers under "Operation Amanat".