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Monday, July 19, 2010

Now RPF to guard Kolkata Metro

Mon, Jul 19 05:36 AM

Following intelligence inputs that Kolkata Metro could be attacked by Bangladeshi militants and insurgent groups of the Northeast, the Union Home Ministry has persuaded the Railway Ministry to take complete charge of its security.

Railway Protection Force (RPF) will now replace the multiple security agencies — Metro Railway Police, Government Rail Police, the RPF and some private security agencies — that are currently guarding the Metro. This means RPF will now assume complete charge of securing the Kolkata Metro, much the same way as Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) guards the Delhi Metro.

The decision to entrust security of Kolkata Metro to a single force was prompted by the realisation that there was a blurring of responsibilities and issues of coordination among the agencies currently doing the job, sources said.

Confirming the development, RPF Director General, Ranjit Sinha said, "RPF will now be the single security agency in charge of Kolkata Metro. We hope to commence taking over the security of stations in a month's time. Takeover of 24 stations will happen in phases and will be completed by December 2011."

And once it takes charge of security at all the stations, RPF plans to install high-end security equipment across the network.

The Railway Ministry, sources said, has already sought Finance Ministry's sanction for recruiting 700 RPF personnel for this purpose. But, till they are recruited and trained, RPF plans to divert personnel from other places for Metro's security. Around 300 RPF personnel are already guarding Kolkata Metro.

Intelligence Bureau, sources said, has been for some months now warning of possible terror strikes on the Metro by Bangladeshi militants and several insurgent groups active in the Northeast.

MHA had, at a recent meeting, asked the Railways to take a final call on the matter. The Bengal government, which had earlier sought a CISF cover for the Metro, is learnt to have favoured RPF taking over the security.

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