Railways to consult states regarding RPF Bill

New Delhi: Amid opposition from some states, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi today said they would take states` concern into account before finalising the proposed RPF Amendment Bill.

"Nothing will be done if states do not want it. We will finalise the draft only after taking the states` consent," he said. However, he also made it clear that ensuring security of passengers and safety of its properties cannot be diluted.

Earlier in the same context Trivedi had said that some "agencies must take responsibility and accountability."

The RPF Bill aims to give policing powers to RPF personnel. A number of non-Congress states have opposed the RPF Bill, saying the Bill would destroy the federal character of the Constitution as it would empower the RPF with policing powers.

Trivedi said, "We have got to take all the states into account. We need to talk to them. I think that the bill will come to Parliament and it will be debated in Parliament."

Earlier, Trinamool leader and Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed made a strong pitch for the proposed RPF Amendment Bill.

"We want a strong Railway Protection Force for the safety of passengers and rail property… It is required," Ahmed said.

The proposed amendment seeks to do away with the Government Railway Police (GRP) comprising the police force of the respective states and entrust more policing powers to the RPF, a Central force. Orissa, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have said the amendment will be an attack on the federal structure.

Railway Ministry had sought states opinion on the amendment in December last year.