Considering taking services of private security agencies: Railway minister

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) Union Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said that the government is considering deploying private security agencies on the Indian railways network to enhance the safety and security of passengers and assets.

The minister revealed this while addressing a conference of the International Institute of Security and Safety Management (IISSM) here.

Prabhu said that private security agencies can work with the Railway Protection Force (RPF).

The RPF is the designated security force tasked to protect railway passengers, stations and railway property. It functions under the railway ministry.

“It is a fact that the RPF has huge manpower shortage. To carry out its tasks more effectively, the assistance of private security industry is a very good option,” the minister said.

“They can handle the non-policing tasks, like management of security at railway stations, baggage scanning and patrolling of railway tracks.”

Prabhu said that around 10,000 RPF jawans are deployed in non-core areas like securing offices, colonies, warehouses and factories.

The minister elaborated that re-deploying the RPF personnel from non-core areas to core functions like passenger and platform security can yield around Rs.400 crore per annum.

Prabhu said the RPF’s task to protect the railways assets and passengers is very challenging and demanding, as the railroad network spreads over 65,015 kms.

“Securing the passenger and freight rail systems are fraught with challenges,” Prabhu said.

“Some of these challenges are common to passenger and freight rail systems, such as the funding of security improvements, the inter connectivity of the rail system and the number of stakeholders involved in rail security.”

According to the minister, railways like all modes of transportation, are vulnerable to terror attacks, fire incidents and other crimes.

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