Monday, June 22, 2009

Railways tighten security in wake of Maoist bandh call

22 Jun 2009, 0329 hrs IST, TNN

PATNA: The railways have put all major stations on high security alert in the wake of 48-hour Maoist bandh call in five states Bihar, Jharkhand,
Orissa, West Bengal and Chhatisgarh beginning Monday. The move follows a Union home ministry alert to this effect. All long-distance mail and express trains passing or originating from Patna Junction have been put under tight security surveillance. Sniffer dogs have also been pressed into service at Patna Junction for security reasons.

According to ECR CPRO A K Chandra, since the railways do not want to give any leeway to Maoists, security measures have been beefed up at all major stations falling under the five divisions of the East Central Railway (ECR). Armed forces are also being deployed at all vulnerable and Naxalite-affected areas.

The railways are keeping a close touch with the state government to foil disruptive activities. In coordination with the state police, the railways have geared up security measures to counter attacks on railway properties or passenger trains.

Besides, the railways would keep a tight vigil on movement of passengers through CCTV cameras installed at Patna Junction, Chandra said. The Patna-Gaya, Patna-Jhajha, Gaya-Dhanbad and Gaya-Mughalsarai sections are most vulnerable. That apart, the Kiul-Jamalpur section, too, has remained a soft target of Maoists, he said.

The railways have also decided to tighten security measures at railway bridges. Light engines would move ahead of mail and express trains in vulnerable areas during the bandh period, especially at night. All RPF posts have been asked to remain vigilant and work in coordination with the state police, he said, adding that an emergency cell would work round-the-clock during the period.

According to the superintendent of railway police (SRP), Patna, D N Gupta, GRP personnel escorting trains during night have been asked to remain alert while on duty. They have been directed to thoroughly search each bogie of the passenger train as well as the luggage of the suspects.

Since there is a huge flow of passengers from Patna Junction, the GRP personnel would carry out search operation at railway platforms and other vulnerable stations, the SRP said.

According to Gupta, the GRP personnel have been asked to make intensive search in each passenger train passing through Patna Junction during night. The GRP personnel would also maintain a tight vigil at all major stations to avert any mishap, he said.

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