New Delhi, Oct 24 (UNI) A total of 20 bomb blasts which left eight passengers dead took place on the Indian Railways during the first nine months of this year, Minister of State for Railways R Velu informed the Rajya Sabha today.
Admitting that the Indian Railways had become a soft target for terrorists, Naxalites and other disruptive forces resulting in loss of innocent lives and properties, the Minister said as many as 75 people were killed in 38 blasts in trains and rail premises during 2007.
Quoting from figures, he said in a written reply that a total of nine people were killed in 20 train blasts in 2005 while 212 people died in 45 such incidents in 2006.
Detailing the security measures taken to prevent such recurrence, he said these included maintaining a close liaison between state police and government railway police, periodical meetings with state administrations and police authorities of affected states and sharing of intelligence between railway protection force, railway police and intelligence bureau to combat terrorist attacks on the railways among others.
Further, Mr Velu said, there were 51 posts of Inspector lying vacant, 273 post of sub-inspector, 268 of assistant sub-inspector, 1233 of head constables, 37 of artisans and 256 of followers lying vacant in the Railway Protection Force, besides 150 Railway Protection Special Force staff who were on deputation outside the their parent force.
He assured that steps were being taken to fill the existing vacancies with the recruitment process by Zonal Railways underway and recruitment process for filling up the vacancy of Sub-Inspector against 131 vacancies through direct recruitment quota was also underway.
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