New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister and his wife Jayant and Sudha Malaiya were robbed in the AC coach of Jabalpur-Nizamuddin Express during the intervening night of March 18 and 19. They were travelling to Delhi
The robbers, about a dozen in number, looted the minister and his wife of cash and jewellery at knife point between Agra and Mathura stations when the robbers looted cash and jewellery at knife point.
Narrating their harrowing experience to media-persons in Delhi, Dr. Sudha Malaiya said: “We were in our compartment and heard a knock at the door. When I opened the door, about six persons barged in. They took away all our cash and jewellery at knife point and also looted passengers in other compartments. They fled locking them from outside when security personnel arrived.”
The robbers had their faces covered, Dr. Malaiya added
All the robbers were dressed in the same manner and had covered their faces with a piece of cloth.
This incident is reflective of the poor management at the top, including the Railway Board and the chaos prevailing when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of passengers in Indian Railways.
Matters have got complicated as there is a general lack of coordination between the railway and the State governments as a move is on to give policing powers to the Railway Protection Force. In recent years, there has been a move to supplant the Government Railway Police (GRP) with Railway Protection Force (RPF) by giving it powers for registration of passenger offences under IPC instead of supplementing the GRP, which is a state police organisation and has the constitutional mandate for policing and maintaining law and order.
Earlier the primary function of the Railway Protection Force was confined to protection and security of Railway property, including Railways own assets and the property entrusted for transportation., to remove any obstruction in the movement of Railways and to do other acts conducive to the better protection and security of Railway property under the RPF Act, 1957 and RP (UP) Act 1966. However on the recommendation of the High Level committee on Security of Railways, the RPF Act, 1957 and the Railways Act, 1989 were amended in 2003 and additional responsibility for protection of passengers and passenger areas has been given to RPF.
Under the existing scheme, while the State police continues to police the Railways, the RPF has been given the responsibility, since July 1, 2004 to escort passenger trains in vulnerable areas and provide access control regulation and general security on the platforms in the passenger and the circulation area.
Investigation by Newsroom24x7 especially with regard to coordination between the Centre and state governments have revealed that the Railways have held back concurrence for recruitment of manpower and filling sanctioned posts to improve the working of GRP. Even the Madhya Pradesh GRP demand for access link (API) to track train position and improve the efficiency of State Control Room and Response Monitoring Centre, so essential to respond to SOS calls by passengers, is not being entertained on priority by the Railway administration.
It is learnt that the Indian Railways is also refusing to share expenditure on pension of GRP personnel since 2010. The office of the Controller General of Accounts also took note of the factual position, based on the accounting rule, and conveyed the view that the provisions being cited by the Indian Railways do not have any bearing on the arrangement for sharing of the cost of pension and other charges of GRP by Railways and the State Government as these are separately governed for sharing of expenditure on GRP between the State Government and Railways on 50:50 basis. This was communicated by CGA to Comptroller and Auditor General for being conveyed to Railways in March 2014. This position was also communicated to the Chairman Railway Board in April 2014 but the matter continues to hang fire.
CLICK HERE to read earlier news: “Indian Railways: Move is on to give policing powers to RPF against letter and spirit of Constitution”