The Railway Protection Force (RPF), responsible for the security of railway property, passenger and passenger area, works around the clock to provide a safe, secure and comfortable travel experience for passengers. It helps Indian Railways to provide safe freight service to its customers. The RPF has ably discharged the responsibility of protecting the huge assets of the railways spread across the country by taking preventive measures as well as measures to detect crimes against railway property. It has become a crucial player in the national security network by playing an important role in homeland security, maintaining public order, and providing soundtracks during national and state elections. A summary of the achievements of the RPF during the year 2021 is presented below –
Action during the pandemic to curb the spread of COVID -RPF Escorted 522 special oxygen trains from origin station to destination. COVID aid kiosks were made operational at major train stations which obtained verified information from multiple sources and provided information on the availability of COVID resources in addition to providing immediate aid to the needy.
Ensure implementation of appropriate Covid behavior as per protocol i.e. mask wearing, sanitizing and maintaining physical distancing.
In 2021, 26 RPF members sacrificed their lives on the altar of duty due to COVID infection.
Saving precious lives – During the year, RPF personnel rescued 601 people without regard to their own safety, going well beyond their duty. Ch. Gyan Chand, Chief of Police showed exemplary courage and gave his life in saving the life of a lady attempting suicide on 02.03.21 at Bharwari Railway Station, NCR (UP). The RPF saved lives in mission mode under the “Jeewan Raksha Mission”. RPF personnel have saved 1,650 lives from the wheels of trains running through stations over the past four years as part of this mission. RPF personnel were awarded 09 Jeewan Raksha Medals and a Medal of Bravery by the Honorable President of India in recognition of their efforts to save lives over the past 4 years.
Women’s safety – A “Meri Saheli” initiative has been launched to ensure the safety of female passengers on long-distance trains, especially those traveling alone or those vulnerable to crime. For this purpose, the RPF deployed 244 “Meri Saheli” teams in the main railway stations of India. RPF collects feedback from these passengers at the end of their journey to gauge the effectiveness of the initiative and further refine it. Other preventive measures to ensure the safety of female passengers such as train escort, CCTV system in 840 stations and about 4000 coaches, female escorts in special female commuter trains, regular runs against unauthorized passengers in women’s coaches, etc. are also implemented.
Human Trafficking – The RPF is an immediate responder to cases of human trafficking through rail transport and plays a key role in combating this threat. During the year 2021, the RPF rescued 630 people from the clutches of human traffickers. This includes 54 women, 94 underage girls, 81 men and 401 underage boys.
Child Rescue -RPF has played a significant role in reuniting children who are lost/separated for various reasons from their families and has rescued over 11,900 children in need of care and protection who came in contact with Indian Railways. 132 child assistance offices are functional across the country where the RPF works with the NGO designated for the rescue of children.
Action against criminals involved in offenses against passengers – Policing is the responsibility of the States/UTs, which they execute through the GRP/District Police on the Railroads. The RPF complements police efforts in the prevention/detection of crimes against rail travellers. During the year 2021, the RPF arrested more than 3000 criminals involved in crimes against passengers and handed them over to the concerned GRP/Police.
Protect and Safeguard Railway Property – In line with its mandate to protect railway property and bring legal action against crimes involving railway property, the RPF apprehended 8744 people involved in such crimes with recovery of stolen railway property from worth Rs. 5.83 Crores in 2021.
Action against touts -During the Covid pandemic, the limited operation of passenger trains has been reinstated and to maintain the rush for trains to implement the Covid protocol, only passengers who have booked accommodation on trains have been permitted to travel. This provided touts with a golden opportunity to illegally manage the business of buying and selling reserved tickets at preferential rates. To stem this crime, the RPF acted swiftly and made sustained efforts against this threat throughout the year and registered over 4,100 cases with the arrest of over 4,600 offenders. Future travel tickets monopolized by these touts illegally to the tune of Rs 2.8 Cr. were also confiscated from them.
Action Against Narcotics – Having been empowered under the NDPS Act in 2019, the RPF has successfully recovered narcotics transported by the railways worth over Rs. 15.7 cr. followed by the arrest of 620 drug traffickers in the year 2021.
Action against wild animal smugglers – The smuggling of wild animals and animal parts is a crime against nature. The RPF has been aware of the issue and has taken strict action against smugglers involved in the illegal wildlife trade. In the year 2021, RPF has recovered several restricted wildlife species i.e. birds, snakes, turtles, peacocks, reptiles etc. and their processed products, as well as sandalwood and other species of flora and fauna.
Making travel comfortable for the elderly, women and people with disabilities -RPF has consistently provided assistance to people in need of assistance, especially the elderly, the sick, pregnant women, people with disabilities and women passengers with a humanitarian approach. To ensure their safe journey, the RPF apprehended more than 25,000 people traveling without authorization in coaches reserved for ladies & 9,307 people in coaches reserved for disabled people during the year 2021.
Emergency Response – Over 80,000 calls/complaints received from passengers in distress on the toll-free hotline #139 (24X7) and on Twitter regarding safety were answered and resolved quickly.
Baggage Recovery – In the year 2021, RPF recovered abandoned luggage worth over 23 Crores belonging to 12377 passengers and returned to them after verification. The RPF provided this service to passengers as part of “Operation Amanat”.
(With GDP entries)