Govt railway police hit by staff shortage

Govt railway police hit by staff shortage

Govt railway police hit by staff shortage

The recent twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai, in which a software engineer from Bangalore was killed, have hig­hlighted the need for str­en­gthening security at railway stations as well as on the trains.

However, acute shortage of staff in the Government Railway Police (GRP) in Karnataka has apparently endangered the safety of lakhs of passengers travelling by trains passing through the State daily.

Sources in the State police said the sanctioned strength of the GRP in Karnataka is 900. Currently, there are 240 vacancies. Recently, the State government has decided to fill 195 vaca­nt posts.

However, con­s­idering the current situation, the GRP in the State requires at least 1,800 personnel to ensure minimal security to trains and platforms, the sources said.

Karnataka’s ratio of number of policemen per kilometre of railway track is also said to be the lowest in south India. The State has rail track for more than 3,000 km, including 356 km of Konkan Railway.

Crimes reported on trains and platforms in the State have also been increasing. The GRP, because of shortage of personnel, is finding it difficult to meet the challenges of increased sabotage activities and anonymous calls on bombs planted on trains, the sources said.

Any decision on increasing the sanctioned strength of the GRP should be approved by the Railway Board. The State government and Railway Board equally share expenditure of the GRP. The State government submitted a proposal in 2001 to the Railway Board seeking to increase the sanctioned strength. However, there has  been no response till date, the sources said.