RPF, GRP staff crunch in Pune turns local trains into sitting ducks
Over 80,000 commuters travel on Pune-Lonavla network daily, yet RPF and GRP fail to provide a single guard on the local trains. Even compartments reserved for women have no security personnel
Two months after the Lonavla stationmaster was thrashed and robbed, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) seem to be indifferent towards providing security to over 80,000 commuters travelling between Pune-Lonavla daily.
no cover: Not a single security personnel from the RPF or GRP was present in the ladies compartment of this train
When this correspondent travelled from Pune to Lonavla by a local train that left platform number 6 at 4.25 pm and reached Lonavla at 6 pm, he observed that not a single RPF or GRP official was deployed in any of the coaches, including those reserved for women.
In addition, security personnel were conspicuous by their absence at the Lonavla station as well.
The correspondent then boarded the same local for Pune from platform number 2 at 6.25 pm, and here, too, not a single security personnel was deployed in any of the compartments.
When the train halted at Kirkee railway station for over 15 minutes to make way for a Mumbai-bound Express train, no security official was present on the entire platform.
Yogendra Singh, PRO, Pune railway division, said, “It is the joint responsibility of the RPF and the GRP to provide security to the passengers.”
80,000 No of commuters travelling on the Pune-Lonavla line daily
40 No of trips made by trains between the two stations
3 Number of ladies’ compartments in each local train
Assistant Commissioner (RPF) L B Singh said, “After the incident that took place in July, wherein the Lonavla stationmaster was robbed, we deployed extra staff in the night trains till July-end. But, manpower shortage forced us to call off the deployment.”
Senior Inspector (GRP) Abhay Parmar, “We are not responsible for providing security. It is the responsibility of the RPF. Since we are experiencing staff crunch, we won’t be able to provide any security in the trains.”
Robbed in July
Lonavla stationmaster Narayan Ganpati Shelke (50) was attacked by four goons in a local train between Lonavla and Malwali at 11 pm on July 6. Shelke was robbed of R800 and a gold chain. After the incident, the RPF and the GRP claimed they would be deploying security personnel during peak hours, and additional staff would be deployed in local trains that leave late in the evening.