24×7 security helpline for train passengers soon

New Delhi: With a view to strengthen safety of passengers and check crimes against women in trains and stations, Railways will soon launch a 24×7 helpline which will be tracked on real-time basis across the country.

The proposed pan India toll-free helpline, first-of-its- kind in Railways, is going to be launched shortly to provide round-the-clock security-related assistance to passengers, a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project said.

Passengers can use the helpline to report thefts, harassment or any other untoward incident, he said.

Railways has sought a three-digit number for the proposed helpline from the Department of Telecommunication and all necessary preparations are being made for providing security assistance to passengers, he said.

The hardware and software for the helpline are being provided by Centre For Railway Information Systems (CRIS). It will be managed by Railway Protection Force.

"RPF will provide necessary training to about 250 staff for the call centre job. There will be about 30 RPF personnel deployed at the main control room being set up at Daya Basti in the capital to receive the complaints round-the-clock and take action," the official said.

Networking of all RPF units and other modalities are being worked out to launch the helpline. "All RPF posts, including zonal headquarters, divisions and control room, are being linked with the helpline network," he said.

Describing the mechanism, the official said, "After receiving the complaint from the passenger on a moving train, the message will be passed on to the nearest railway station immediately for necessary action."

Currently, 1,275 trains are being escorted by RPF daily on an average, in addition to 2,220 trains escorted by Government Railway Police (GRP).

The safety and security of passengers, especially women, is top priority of Railways, said the official.

Incidentally, crime against women in trains has been on a rise despite deployment of security personnel by Railways, with more than 200 cases including rape, molestation and misbehaviour reported last year.

There were 210 cases of crime against women registered in 2012 as against 127 cases in 2011. The number of crimes committed against women in trains was 85 in 2010, according to Railway Ministry data.

While molestation cases in trains have gone up from 52 in 2010 to 72 in 2011, the number touched 119 in 2012. Rape cases have also increased from 3 in 2011 to 7 in 2012.

Cases of misbehaviour with women were also reported in trains. The number of such cases increased from 33 in 2010 to 52 in 2011. 2012 witnessed 84 cases of misbehaviour in trains.