By bappaditya paul
As drugging and looting of railway passengers are on the rise, Indian Railways is planning to put in place a pan-India coordination mechanism to curb the menace. In many cases, drugging also causes deaths of passengers.
Till July this year, 567 cases of drugging were reported and about 1,000 railway passengers have fallen victims to criminals. The maximum number of cases was reported from northern India.
According to figures available with the Railway Protection Force (RPF), East-Central Railway topped the list with 176 incidents of drugging incidents reported till 14 July this year. The Government Railway Police (GRP) of Bihar registered 123 such cases while the rest were overlooked. In the northern zone of railways, 123 drugging cases have been reported so far and in this case, 122 cases were registered by the GRP.
As regards the Eastern Railway, whose jurisdiction spreads over West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand, the incidents of drugging of train passengers till July, stands at 41. The GRPs in these states have registered 39 cases against this.
The number drugging incidents reported in Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) equals to the Eastern Railway figure. But the cases registered against this by the concerned GRPs stood at only 14. Headquartered at Guwahati, NFR’s jurisdiction extends to the northeastern state, West Bengal and Bihar.
“The major impediment on the path of curbing the menace is the dispute over territorial jurisdictions of the GRPs of different states. In most cases, they are found to be debating in whose area a drugging incident has taken place.”
“To over come this, we are now trying to put in place a pan-India coordination mechanism involving the RPF and the GRPs. The heads of the RPF in each of the 16 railway zones would head the proposed mechanism,” said the chief security commissioner of Eastern Railway, Mr Subhash Chandra Sahu. The priority areas, as proposed, will be to get all the incidents of drugging being registered and sharing of Intelligence between the RPF and the GRPs of different states. Maintaining a database of criminals arrested and prosecuted in drugging incidents is also in the radar.
To finalise the modalities for this, with the instruction of the director general of the RPF, Eastern Railway has convened an all India coordination meet tomorrow at the divisional railway manager’s conference hall at Howrah. Other than representatives from 16 railway zones across India, the GRPs of all the states have also been invited for the event.
(The writer is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This copy originally appeared in The Statesman http://www.thestatesman.net on 12 August 2011.)