National: Railway Protection Force (RPF) has planned extensive use of drones for the purpose of Railway security. Nine drones have been procured by RPF so far at a cost of Rs. 31.87 Lakh at South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Raebareli, and South Western Railway.
It has been further proposed to procure seventeen more drones in the future at a cost of Rs. 97.52 Lakh. Nineteen RPF personnel have so far been trained in operation and maintenance of drones out of which 4 have received licenses for flying drones. Six more RPF personnel are being trained.
The purpose of the drone deployment is to provide a force multiplier and aid to the effectiveness of the security personnel deployed. It can help in inspection of Railway assets and safety of Yards, Workshops, car sheds, etc. it can be used to launch surveillance on criminal and anti-social activities like gambling, throwing of garbage, hawking, etc in Railway premises. It may also be deployed for data collection. Analysis of such data collected may prove to be extremely useful in vulnerable sections for safe operations of trains.
The drone may be pressed in service at disaster sites for helping in rescue, recovery, and restoration and coordinating of efforts of various agencies. It is very useful while undertaking mapping of railway assets to assess the encroachments on railway property. During large scale crowd management efforts, it may give vital inputs like crowd magnitude, probable time of arrival, and dispersal based on which crowd regulation efforts may be planned and executed. Drones were used to enforce lockdown and monitor the movement of migrants during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Meanwhile, a drone camera can cover a large area that requires 8-10 RPF personnel. Thus, it may lead to substantial improvement in utilization of scarce manpower. Drone beats have been designed based on railway assets, the sensitivity of the area, activity of criminals, etc. Drone acts as an “EYE IN THE SKY” and monitors the whole area. Any suspicious activity if noticed is intimated to the nearest RPF post of division to apprehend the criminal LIVE. One such criminal was apprehended on a real-time basis in Wadibunder Yard area while he was trying to commit theft inside a railway coach stationed in the yard.