Kochi: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has a novel and effective way to ensure safety of women staff deployed at isolated railway crossings and small stations in the division.
The force has started installing portable solar-operated CCTV cameras at "problem-identified" locations to deter anti-social elements from targeting women staff.
The railways started deploying women staff at railway gates even at nights since a couple of years back. However, there were many instances when anti-social elements passed lewd comments or verbal abuse or even attacked the staff at small stations or isolated railway gates.
"One of affected region is the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam section where there are a number of level crossing gates. We're setting up the CCTVs at problem-identified locations on a temporary basis.
Once we've identified the accused, the same will be removed and reinstalled at another area," said T.S. Gopakumar, Assistant Security Commissioner, RPF, Ernakulam.
According to him, unlike usual ones, the wireless solar-operated CCTVs are difficult to spot since they operate on WiFi signals.
There were a total of 25 such cases from January to August last year while 10 cases were reported so far this year when railway staff on duty came under attack or obstructed from discharging their duties.
"We're giving top priority for such offences and managed to catch culprits in all cases where complaints were lodged. The latest incident happened at Vaikom Road on September 1 when a youth verbally abused the lady Station Master there at night. The accused, a 20-year old native of Kollam, was apprehended," the officer said.
The RPF, fighting acute staff shortage woes, is unable to man small stations or railway crossing gates.
Meanwhile, a railway spokesperson said women personnel are deployed at railway crossing gates nearest to their place of residence. "The staff of Engineering/ Operating wing themselves prefer to work at railway gates lest they have go do tough jobs like track inspection," he said....