Patnaik opposes changes in RPF act

February 29th, 2012 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bhubaneswar, Feb 28 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing the move to amend the existing Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act to give the central paramilitary force full jurisdiction over crimes at stations and on trains.

“Taking up any amendment on this subject without consulting the state governments is a clear infringements of the powers of the states and against the basic federal structure of our constitution,” Patnaik said in his letter.

“I am constrainted to point out that the government of India is bent upon taking one step after another that are in conflict with the federal structure of the country and are against the interest of the people of the nation,” he stated.

The proposed Railway Protection Force (Amendment) Bill, 2011, is expected to be introduced in the budget session of parliament. It seeks withdrawal of the state-run Government Railway Police (GRP) from the railway stations across the country and empowering of the RPF with policing power.

RFF is currently entrusted with the work of protecting railway property while GRP has been dealing with crimes at railway stations and on trains.

Patnaik asked the prime minister to direct the railway ministry not to proceed further with the matter.

“The justification being advanced by the ministry of railways for conferring power of police officers on the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel so that they can conduct investigation and make arrests is not at all convincing,” said Patnaik.

Patnaik had earlier this month opposed the proposed anti-terror hub, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), in its present format and said that it will infringe on the rights of states and affect the country’s federal structure.

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