RPF is determined to ensure proper safety and security for women passengers: DG Manoj Yadava

Women cops of the Railway Protection Force are not only assisting pregnant women passengers if they develop labour pain during the journey but also helping women passengers travelling alone in trains.
Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Manoj Yadava. (Photo | Express)
Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Manoj Yadava. (Photo | Express)

NEW DELHI: Women cops of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) are proving very much Samaritans to women passengers who are found travelling either alone or in an advanced stage of pregnancy or get into sudden labour pain during their journey.

The RPF women cops have helped over 300 pregnant women passengers to deliver babies, who went suddenly into labour pains during journeys either onboard or on railway premises in the last 2 years.

Associated with the Indian Railway (IR) unique initiative called “Meri Saheli”, women cops of RPF are not only assisting pregnant women passengers if they develop labour pain during the journey but also assisting woman passengers travelling alone in trains as becoming of their ‘Saheli’ (Friends).

In an exclusive conversation with Rajesh Kumar Thakur, Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Manoj Yadava (1988-batch IPS officer of Haryana cadre) here dwelt upon various Samaritan and unique services and initiatives of RPF and its women cops over the Indian Railways.


How Indian Railway’s unique initiative called ‘Meri Saheli’ is doing its job for women passengers?

Laudable and worth awarding! The teams of the ‘Meri –Saheli’ initiative of the Railway Protection Force(RPF) are doing very commendable Samaritan works in addition to discharging their assigned duties for the safety of women passengers onboard. They have instilled a sense of security among women passengers since 2020 –when it was first rolled out as a pilot project with the objective to provide enhanced safety and security to woman passengers travelling alone by trains for their entire journey.

They do their duty in a dedicated manner and provide a swift response to women passengers in distress or in need of help during their journey. They also take feedback from women passengers to make further improvements and to overcome shortcomings of this initiative.

How many teams of ‘Meri Saheli’ of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) are active at present in the Indian Railways?

Presently, 230 ‘Meri- Saheli’ teams of RPF women cops have been deployed to cover more than 400 train services on average daily over the Indian Railway network. They have been given training in all possible ways to ensure safety and security to women passengers during their journey and the team members of Meri Saheli brief the target passengers about the security measures to be followed during the journey.  The passengers are also informed by them about the ways of seeking help in distress from the teams of ‘Meri Saheli’ during the journey.

Not only this, the RPF posts falling en route are also informed in advance about the movement of women passengers travelling alone to keep them alert to assist the passengers immediately if they face any kind of problem during the journey. The railway is equipping the members of ‘Meri Saheli’ teams with tabs for quick response and ease of doing from Nirbhaya Fund.  Not only this, the railway has also installed CCTV cameras at many stations under the Nirbhaya Fund in addition to integrating more than 194 stations under the Integrated Security System. Side by side, surveillance is maintained through CCTV cameras provided in 7264 coaches for women passengers in particular.

One act of RPF ‘Meri Saheli’ teams in assisting pregnant women during their journey to deliver babies is being widely lauded now.  How many such cases have been reported to you in last 2 years?

It is true that RPF cops, associated with Meri Saheli teams, have assisted hundreds of pregnant women passengers, who had suddenly developed labour pain during their journey either onboard or in railway premises waiting for trains or soon after deboarding in the last 2 days.

(Citing data)-. As many as 339 pregnant women, who went into labour pains suddenly during their journey in the last 2 years (up to August 2023 from 2022), were assisted by RPF women cops to deliver babies safely in trains and railways areas.

In 2022, 140 pregnant women passengers were assisted by RPF women cops in trains to deliver babies safely and 69 on the premises of Railways. In 2023(up to August) 85 pregnant woman passengers delivered babies with the assistance of RPF women cops and 45 in the railway premises. In 2022-23, 158 pregnant women passengers were assisted by RPF women cops in the delivery of babies in the rain and 220 in railway premises.

Notably, 123 pregnant women passengers were assisted by RPF women cops as part of Meri Saheli in giving birth to babies in trains and 62 in railway premises. So, in all ways, the RPF women cops are doing a great Samaritan service in addition to ensuring safety and security for women passengers.

Besides this, how RPF cops, in general, are taking care of women and girls in railways?

Broadly speaking, the RPF women and male cops also have done a lot of commendable work for women's safety over the railways.  Under Operation ‘Action against Human Trafficking’ (AAHT), 111 women including 85 girls were rescued by RPF from being trafficked in 2022, followed by 73 women including 60 girls in 2023(Up to August).

Not only this, the RPF cops including women cops of RPF  also, rescued 5,358 girls who had run away from their homes over petty family issues from railway areas after they were found loitering or sitting alone in distress. They were the girls in need of care and protection and later handed over to the concerned agencies for further action including handing over them to their parents. In 2023, (up to August), 2898 such girls have been rescued by RPF cops also over the Indian railways.

Unauthorised entry of male passengers into the coaches reserved for women is taking place in railways. How is it being checked by RPF?

Well, we have a defined way to check such encroachment by male passengers into coaches reserved for women in railways. The unauthorised entry of male passengers in coaches reserved for women is being strictly checked and guided by RPF women cops also on duty in trains. In 2022, 57096 cases of unauthorised entry into women reserved coaches were registered and 63882 persons were arrested on charge of it. The RPF had realised Rs 1.38 crore in fines from them. Similarly, 53518 persons were arrested in connection with 50025 cases of unauthorized entry of males into women coaches in 2023( up to August) and a sum of Rs 1.15 crore has been realised from them in fines. So, we –the RPF   people, are determined to ensure proper safety and security for women passengers during their journey.

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