With the aim of protecting tourists from being fleeced by touts, the railways is setting up RPF (Railway Protection Force) Tourist Help Desk at 24 stations including Agra, Tirupati, Ayodhya, Varanasi and Puri to ensure hassle-free journey for passengers.
“The help desk will be manned by trained RPF personnel round the clock. They will assist and guide passengers in getting transportation, hotels and other required information related to the area,” said a senior railway official.
The help desk is being set up in close coordination with state police at 24 stations which have high tourist footfall.
The cases of fleecing of tourists at the hands of unscrupulous elements at railway stations are believed to be a regular activity and the RPF help desk is expected to act as a deterrent against touts.
Railway stations at Amritsar, Thiruvanathapuram, Gaya, Rae Bareli and Agra are being taken up at the first phase and other stations such as Haridwar, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Allahabad, Dwarka, Howrah, Kamakhya and Tirupati will be taken up in the next phase.
The plan is to cover all major stations with such tourist-friendly facility across the country in a phase-wise manner, the official said.
Trains passing through sensitive areas like Naxal-infested and terrorism-affected regions are being escorted by RPF and GRP across the country.
Safety and security of passengers are of paramount importance for railways and RPF is trying to do its role sincerely, said RPF DG Rajan Bhagat.
RPF which has about 66,000 personnel is currently escorting about 2,500 trains.
“Our target is to cover all trains in due course and for that we are training more personnel,” he said, adding, “We will increase the number of escorted trains to 3,000 from 2,500 shortly.”
Besides escorting trains, RPF is also responsible for protection of rail properties.