GUNTUR: Following the recent incidents of rape in railway stations, The New Indian Express visited the Guntur railway station to take stock of the security measures in place. Two incidents of gang rape were reported in Repalle and Gurazala railway stations, both in the undivided Guntur district, on May 1 and April 15 respectively.
Eight railway stations, including Guntur which is a major station, come under the ambit of Guntur GRP. The duties of the GRP personnel include patrolling on tracks, guarding platforms and escorting in trains - that pass through their jurisdiction - to act against property offenders, mischief mongers, eve-teasers and anti-social elements. While the CCTV cameras at the station are fully functional, the shortage of government railway police (GRP) has posed a major challenge in maintaining proper surveillance at the railway stations.
“The Guntur GRP was allocated 47 constables. However, currently, we are operating with just seven constables as the rest have either been transferred or posted to other duties,” inspector Venkateswarlu told TNIE. He further pointed out, “Though we try to manage night patrols and escorting in trains, it is hardly possible for seven constables to perform the duties of 47.’’
“With just seven personnel, how can we provide security and ensure the safety of the passengers?’’ another official questioned when asked about the issues pertaining to security lapses at the railway stations.
Confirming the same, Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said there is a shortage of staff in the entire police department in the State. Speaking in Guntur, she added, “We have approached the Centre several times requesting for allotment of funds to strengthen the police department but in vain. We will take steps to increase the strength of police staff in order to prevent crimes against women in the State.’’
In response to TDP MLC Nara Lokesh’s remarks that crimes against women were on the rise due to the State government’s failure to prevent ganja cultivation and liquor consumption, she said people are aware of how former DGP Gautam Sawang took up an operation against ganja cultivation in the Agency Areas. “The government is also planning to provide alternative farming options to those who were involved in cultivating ganja,’’ she reported.
Ganja cultivation in Agency areas to be curbed
In response to Telugu Desam charge that crimes against women were on the rise due to the State government’s failure to prevent ganja cultivation and liquor consumption, Home Minister Taneti Vanitha said the government is planning to provide alternative farming options to those who were involved in cultivating ganja in Agency areas