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RPF to raise three commando battalions

Staff Reporter

To be based in J&K, naxal-hit areas and the North-East

— Photo: M.Moorthy

FUTURE PLANS: Ranjit Sinha, Director General, RPF, addressing the media in Tiruchi on Saturday.

TIRUCHI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has proposed to raise three commando battalions in the changed security scenario to act in times of emergencies, the Director General, RPF, New Delhi, Ranjit Sinha, said on Saturday.

The battalions will be based in Jammu & Kashmir, naxal-affected areas and in the North-East, he told the media after taking part in the passing out parade of 81st batch of RPF/Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) Constable Recruits at the RPF Training Centre in the city.

Men handpicked for the RPF’s proposed commando battalions will be imparted separate training in commando operations and would not be involved in routine duties. The uniform for the commandos will be different from the one worn by the RPF personnel.

Those selected for the commando battalions will be sent for training at the Central Reserve Police Force Training Centre at Silchar and in Punjab. The RPF has also requested the Army as well as the Grey Hounds, a Commando force of the Andhra Pradesh Police, to train its men, Director General Ranjit Sinha said.

The need for raising Commando battalions is felt as the railways have increasingly become soft targets especially in the naxal-affected areas including Orissa and Chattisgarh, he added.

The RPF is in the process of upgrading the quality of arms, he said adding that it has approached the Union Home Ministry to provide AK-47 assault rifles to all RPSF battalions. The personnel of the force will be provided with bullet proof jackets and headgears shortly. He said that security will be beefed up in 140 railway stations across the country under the Integrated Security Scheme, drawn up in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks last year, and funds to the tune of Rs.350 crore had been sanctioned for the current financial year.

The tender process for the purchase of sophisticated security equipment had already begun, he said adding that the chosen railway stations will be equipped with luggage scanners, Closed Circuit Television System besides a Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and Dog Squad under the Integrated Security Scheme.

The RPF have sent a proposal to the Railway Ministry seeking its approval to recruit 22,000 Constables in order to enhance the strength of the force in the wake of the increasing number of trains, passengers and creation of new railway divisions, he said.

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