Jamshedpur, June 3: In the wake of recent attack on the Railways by suspected Maoists during the past few days, the Railway has issued fresh directives for the safe running of all trains, including the Rajdhani series, in naxalite-affected regions.
As per the plans, drivers and guards of all mail and express trains passing through rebel-hit Tatanagar – Kharagpur section of South Eastern Railway ( SER) during night will get company of Railway Protection Force ( RPF) jawans, as a security measure.
Garden Reach, the Kolkata -based headquarters of SER has taken a decision in this regard after on May 19 CPI ( Maoist) suspected rebels attacked Dhanbad-Jhargram MEMU Passenger train ( 68020) at the Kokpara railway station, about 100 Kms away from Jamshedpur in Ghatshila sub-division of East Singhbhum.
Chief public relations officer of SER, Sanjay Ghosh said that the initiative will begin from June 1. ” The step is being taken to ensure safety of the drivers and guards. All major mail and express trains moving in the Tatanagar-Kharagpur section will get the facility. RPF jawans will be deployed in the driver’s cabin at the engine and guard’s cabin. Such a decision was taken following a recent meeting with railway authorities and RPF at the headquarters,” he said.
The stretch between Tatanagar and Kharagpur which falls under both Chakradharpur and Kharagpur railway divisions is considered vulnerable from rebel point of view. Notably, that stretch had earlier witnessed two rebel-sponsored attack on trains- Jnaneshwari Express( May, 2010) and Rajdhani Express ( November, 2009 ). Incidents of damaging fish plates by the rebels were also reported in the past.
The Tatanagar station assumes importance in view because it is located on the Howrah-Mumbai main route. Several important trains travel via Tatanagar, including the high-profile Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express. The station sees a daily traffic of 90 mail, express and passenger trains, besides a footfall of more than 60,000 passengers.
He also went on to inform that long distance trains will also have lady RPF personnel as escort for looking after the security of women passengers on the trains. He informed that the deployment of lady RPF personal has already begun in the trains.
The official said apart from that the measure to make the train journey more female-friendly, the RPF is taking several other steps which include setting up an integrated security system at the Tatanagar station.
On the night ( around 10.30 pm) of May 19, the CPI (Maoist) rebels launched an attack on the Dhanbad-Jhargram MEMU Passenger train at Kokpara.
The rebels opened 7-8 rounds of firing , though no passengers were injured. They assaulted the driver, guard, assistant driver and station master of Kokpara before fleeing with their cellphones and three walkie talkies.