Kochi: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) will soon strengthen policing within trains and railway station premises in the Thiruvananthapuram division. The Force is set to engage ex-servicemen as temporary stand-ins to fill up vacancies so as to tide over personnel shortage woes that crippled its effective functioning for long.
As many as 75 vacancies are remaining unfilled for months altogether out of the total sanctioned strength of 460 personnel in the division.
"The process to engage retired army personnel will be initiated soon, thanks to the new policy of the Centre. The temporary postings will be for a period of one year. By then we aim to complete the permanent recruitment process, that from notification of vacancies to training of fresh recruits," said a senior RPF officer.
The State government's Directorate of Sainik Welfare with a comprehensive data base of serving and retired service personnel has assured to supply enough men meeting the demands of the RPF, he added.
The move will result in enhanced security as the additional personnel strength will enable the RPF to provide escort service in more trains passing through the division.
Currently, a few night trains including newly-started independent Rajya Rani Express and Amrita Express have no RPF patrolling facility due to staff shortage.
"We've utilised our maximum capacity and deployed personnel from constables to sub-inspector ranks as escorts in trains. Women personnel are manning ladies coaches in key trains. While one personnel is deployed in passenger trains, upto four are put on duty in express trains with arms," the officer said.
A nation-wide toll-free number '182', known as 'Security Helpline', is operated by the RPF for providing security-related assistance to passengers.
The service is increasingly relied by passengers in the division with the force receiving 61 security-related calls upto June this year as against 151 last year....