Providing yeoman service at railway stations across Haryana, they have come to be the eyes and ears of the Government Railway Police (GRP). An initiative to make railway stations safer for passengers by appointing rail wardens from among the public by the GRP has made a success of the public-police liaison, the police department has been trying so hard to push.
And, the addition to GRP’s extended family stands as evidence of the initiative’s success. Beginning with 10 members each in all districts across Haryana, the GRP has as many as 1,200 rail wardens on its rolls less than 10 months after its launch and the family continues to grow.
To help the railway authorities curb the menace of unsafe journey, the GRP Rail Warden Association was registered in October 2008 at the behest of IG (Railways) KK Mishra. The work on ground by the rail wardens was ably executed by SP (Railways) Bharti Arora.
“The department was particularly worried about the incidents of pick-pocketing and drugging passengers and cheating, especially foreigners. The only way to check these incidents was to involve the public in policing. Accordingly, a meeting of the GRP authorities along with prominent citizens of the city was organised and the rail warden association formed,” says Vijay Kumar Vatsya, the nominated honorary general secretary of the association.
The association was instituted at the district level and SHOs of the Railway Police at respective stations were made presidents of the district association whereas respective RPF officers were made the vice-presidents while the GRP rail wardens were given the duty of secretary of the association.
The association maintains that it has made a good beginning and positive results have started pouring in. While information about the safety and security of the people and passengers in particular is being provided to the police authorities by the rail wardens, headway has been made in checking drug trafficking, chain snatching and theft of valuables while anti-social elements are being watched.
The police department admits their contribution in making rail travel safer for passengers. “Unclaimed bags with over 12 kg contraband was recovered by rail wardens in Ambala on two occasions. Besides, a number of pickpockets were arrested in the past few months and smuggling of liquor has been checked. We hold regular meetings with rail wardens to update them about our requirements and review the progress from time to time,” says Mishra.
Since the rail wardens are people from all walks of life and all age groups, including rickshaw pullers and vendors, who act as good informers to the department, the senior officers, through regular interface, also try to know the difficulties faced by the former in the execution of their duties. The next meeting of the secretaries of the rail warden associations of the districts is slated for June 21.
Meanwhile, the association has decided to publish a quarterly magazine named “Safe Rail” in which the efforts and achievements of the association will be elaborated and these will be displayed at the railway stations.
The idea is not only to provide a platform to rail wardens to exchange views but also to provide valuable information to check the modus operandi of the anti-social elements in the vicinity of railway stations. A non-government organisation, the members of association are doing social service on honorary basis.
In fact, so enthused is the police department with the response to this scheme that it was presented at one of the two most successful experiments in the field of community policing at a national seminar on the same subject in Bhopal last week.
“Community policing has been identified as an important micro mission by the ministry. In pursuance of this mission, the rail warden scheme was introduced wherein the rail wardens perform duties as patrolmen, witnesses, informers and mediators,” explains DG (Law and Order) VN Rai, who is spearheading the “Samvedi” police campaign in the state.