KOLKATA: As the city’s Metro network expands, the demand for dedicated policing has resurfaced. Adhir Sharma, DG and IGP, Railways, West Bengal, has made a presentation on the issue before state DGP Virendra.
Sharma’s proposal says the rising crime graph around the stations could be better managed with separate policing of Metro and the suburban railway. Like Mumbai’s Railway Police Commissionerate, he suggested all Kolkata’s rapid corridors, including the new Dakshineswar line, “may be incorporated in a Kolkata Metropolitan Railway Police Commissionerate.”
Metro’s law and order is mired in dominions. The RPF, under railway ministry, only looks after security and petty crimes like theft on board trains and inside stations. Ever since Metro Railway was made the 17th railway zone in December 2010, most IPC cases on its premises are registered with respective city police stations. While 23 north-south Metro stations come under the various thanas of Kolkata Police (KP), the 24th or the Noapara terminal is under the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate (Baranagar police station).
The seven East-West Metro stations are under Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate. Dakshineswar and Baranagar, the new Metro stations that will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday as part of the 4km Noapara-Dakshineswar extension of the north-south line, will be under Barrackpore Commissionerate. The first one under Belgharia thana and the second within Baranagar police station’s purview. KP does have something called “Metro Rail Police” for the 23 north-south stations. But eight Metro stations are outside its purview. The two new ones will not be within it either because of their geographical locations.
But then, Phoolbagan, one of the seven stations of East-West Metro, which currently runs in a truncated 7km avatar, isn’t under KP’s Phoolbagan thana. It’s clubbed with the East-West stations located mostly in Salt Lake, and is Bidhannagar Commissionerate’s responsibility. “Wonder how it will be divided when East-West Metro is goes up to Howrah Maidan,” rued a KP official.
Acknowledging the jurisdiction issues, Sharma in his power point presentation titled “Proposal for Creation of Kolkata Metropolitan Area Railway Police Commissionerate” said: “With additional projects under construction and some nearing completion, the total stretch of Metro Railway will be 127.6km, out of which about 100km will fall in the jurisdiction of West Bengal Police.”
In November, 2015, Sharma’s predecessor MK Singh had sought a fifth Railway Police District, incorporating the current Metro line and the upcoming ones. “I have modified it and proposed a Railway Police Commissionerate with the Railway police stations in Kolkata Metropolitan Area, including the 12 government railway police stations (under Bengal Police),” Sharma told TOI.