Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads (BDDS) will be posted in all divisional headquarters of the railways, a senior RPF official said, noting the decision was taken to ensure quick response of such teams in case of a bomb scare on the railway premises. There have been several cases of terror strikes at railway stations, like coordinated bomb blasts in 2006, the Samjhauta Express blasts in 2007, and the 26/11 attacks in 2008 where one of the places under fire was the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Following these, a proposal was floated to have such squads in the RPF, but other than certain stations like Bhubaneswar, very few divisions have such facilities, officials said.
“We have decided to have both bomb detection and disposal squads stationed at every divisional headquarters so that when there is a scare, action can be initiated quickly. We will soon get the required equipment and then post personnel for this purpose,” RPF DG Arun Kumar said. He said the squads will be posted over some months starting with identified sensitive divisions, a timeline for which will be fixed within this financial year.
Presently, when such cases arise, usually squads of the district police deal with it.
All 73 divisions will now each have a squad of 12-15 personnel who will be trained in detection and disposal of bombs on the railway premises and a BDDS vehicle will also be provided to them. The decision comes months after the Railway Board in an order gave the RPF officers in divisional and zonal levels administrative as well as financial powers to procure security-related equipment for the force.
“RPF officers in division and zones are empowered to approve security-related items, including drone cameras, baggage scanners, dragon searchlights, public announcement systems, firing simulators, RFID based access control systems, web and mobile based web solutions, spy cameras, voice recorders… modern tools for scientific investigation, including call data recorder, body worn cameras, night vision devices,” the order said.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is a security force of India entrusted with protecting railway passengers, passenger areas and railway property of the Indian Railways.