VIJAYAWADA:Men and machines guard the railway properties day and night in Vijayawada division, emerging as one of the important revenue generators for the Indian railways.
Giving utmost importance to security, as many as 231 closed circuit TV cameras, including 69 dynamic ones, have been installed in 13 railway stations under Vijayawada division, which according to the RPF personnel did not exist even in metro stations like Howrah and Chennai.
In Vijayawada railway station, one of the busiest stations in South Central Railway and a nerve centre for train movement on East coast, every inch of the railway station is under constant surveillance.
“Using as many as 51 cameras, we monitor every movement in the railway station round-the-clock and most of the footage is recorded,” explained Vijayawada divisional railway manager Ashok Kumar.
Speaking to mediapersons, after reviewing the parade by Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel at Railway Stadium on the occasion of 59th RPF Raising Day here Wednesday, Kumar said that the RPF higher officials and he himself are keeping track of what is happening in the railway station and elsewhere in the division using remote surveillance.
Apart from machines, 800 RPF personnel in various categories are discharging duties assigned to them in the division like guarding the railway properties and ensuring passenger safety. “The RPF team of our division is one of the best. They have proved their mettle time and again despite being 20 to 25 per cent short of sanctioned strength,” he said, adding that there was not a single complaint from the lakhs of passengers who used railway services during the recent Pushkarams.
The DRM said that he personally witnessed the exemplary behaviour and courteous manner of the RPF personnel while dealing with pilgrims. “We are looking ahead to offer even better service during Krishna Pushkarams scheduled to be held next August, which is expected to have a large pilgrim turnout.”
The RPF personnel also play a pivotal role in checking the menace of touts. They have registered as many as 38 cases of illegal selling of railway tickets and rescued passengers found drugged in the trains on several occasions.
Asked about the future of freight movement in the division, given the emphasis being put on logistics and shipping sector along with ports development by the state government, the DRM said that as of today, the division handles freight movement of 40 million tonnes from Kakinada and Krishnapatnam ports, with 15-20 rakes per day loading.
“Now that the third railway line between Vijayawada-Duvvada and Vijayawada-Gudur has been sanctioned and with the development of Machilipatnam on cards, we are expecting an increase in freight movement in next couple of years,” he hoped.
Asked about the shortage of personnel, RPF senior divisional security commissioner SR Gandhi stated that they are in the process of filling the vacancies. “Seventy of 110 constable vacancies and 40 out of 43 head constable posts have been filled so far. Rest of them will be filled shortly.”
Though the RPF and the railway police guard the railway properties and look over the safety of passengers, it is people who should be vigilant and not trust the strangers in railways and railway stations, he felt.