A policewoman ensures that passengers have a hassle-free wait at Ranchi station on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Fear and festivity will no longer be strange bedfellows as far as women passengers of A-class Ranchi station are concerned.
The railway police have floated a special team to ensure safety and security of the fair sex during the Durga Puja rush and thereafter.
“The team of five — comprising an officer, two lady constables and two male constables — has been on its toes on the station premises for the past fortnight. The constables are looking out for women, guarding them against troublemakers and torment gangs. They also tip passengers in ladies’ compartments on precautions to be taken during peak-season travel,” said A.K. Gorai, the officer-in-charge of railway police station.
Capital Ranchi hosts no less than 30 pairs of passenger trains every day and witnesses a total passenger footfall of 10,000 on any normal day. During the festive season, the rush almost doubles for important destinations like Delhi, Calcutta, Patna, Alappuzha, Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad among others.
Gorai said the special team would continue to keep vigil and also counsel women passengers from time to time even after the Puja. “No incident of rape, eve-teasing or harassment has been reported at Ranchi station in recent times. But, it is better to be safe than sorry. The special vigil will continue till early next year,” he added.
The railway police are also conducting routine awareness campaigns against drug-and-rob gangs who normally look for vulnerable targets, like elderly women and men travelling alone.
The modus operandi of such gangs has recently come to light. They lace a few biscuits in a packet with sleep-inducing drugs and offer them to passengers. To win confidence, they munch on a biscuit or two, but obviously the ones that are not drugged. Once a passenger sinks beyond consciousness, they relieve him or her of belongings and disappear.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has, meanwhile, formed a special task team to keep tabs on ferrying of narcotics.
“A few days ago, brown sugar worth Rs 28 lakh was seized from the station. The illegal consignment was waiting to be loaded onto the Alleppey Express bound for Dhanbad,” Gorai said.
Plans are also afoot to equip Ranchi station with an electronic surveillance system by May next year.
At present, security depends on police watch and RPF vigil. But, it is not foolproof because the premises are porous in the absence of a boundary on the southern side.
Do you think the measures adopted by railway police are adequate?