New security mechanism for Railways

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New Delhi, Jan 12: The Railways will soon put in place a new security mechanism in close coordination with the state governments and the Union Home Ministry.

A decision to this effect was taken today at a meeting held here to review the security of the Railways, which has become an easy target for terrorist and extremist attacks. The meeting, held at Rail Bhavan, was attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and top security experts from the Intelligence Bureau, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and other Central agencies.

Later talking to mediapersons, Mr Prasad rued the fact that IB inputs with regard to nefarious designs of terrorists, Naxalites and other extremists, had mostly been vague in nature and served little purpose.

''We would like IB and other intelligence agencies to provide specific inputs about an impending attack,'' he said, making a strong case for effective coordination between railway security and other intelligence agencies.

The minister said attacks on Railways were being orchestrated not only by the terrorists, but also by Naxalites in states like Bihar and Chhattisgarh, and extremists in north-eastern states.

Mr Prasad also disclosed that he would soon approach the Union Cabinet with a proposal to increase the strength of RPF personnel.

At present, RPF personnel were escorting 1450 trains, but more trains would have to be provided similar security cover, and this would be possible only by substantially augmenting the strength of the RPF, he said.

The Railway Ministry would like the RPF strength to be increased by 28,000 personnel. In view of the financial implications, it sent a proposal to the Finance Ministry seeking its approval for additional 2616 posts in the RPF. The Finance Ministry, however, approved only 973 posts.

''There is a strong case for augmenting the strength of the RPF and we will be approaching the Cabinet soon in this regard,'' Mr Prasad said.

UNI

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