THE CENTRAL Railway (CR) will soon procure bullet-proof mobile morchas to address the security concerns of armed Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel at railway stations. These morchas will replace sandbags usually placed in front of them as a shield. Morchas were placed at some railway stations on CR after the 26/11 terror attacks in the city. Bullet-proof morchas are iron shields fitted with slits to ensure the staff can place the rifle inside to open fire when there is a need. With wheels fitted at its base, they can be easily moved from one place to other.
“The added advantage of a bullet-proof morcha is its triangular protection shield that helps provide coverage from three directions — front left and right. They can easily be assembled and dismantled within 30 seconds and are convenient,” an official said. According to senior CR RPF officials, the sandbags are a trouble as far as maintenance issue is concerned. “Sandbags would not prove to be of much use considering they cannot be easily moved due to their weight. Leakage problems of these bags would be another issue. The morchas would lend the staff better protection and strategic edge to arrange themselves during an attack or emergency,” an RPF official said.
Six of these morchas procured would be placed at three of the six major railway stations — including two at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM), two at Lokmanya Tilak terminus (LTT) and two at Thane. “We have already placed the purchase order for these morchas last year. They would be a perfect addition to enhance the security system of railways,” Sachin Bhalode, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner (DSC), CR said.
The total cost to procure the same would be around Rs 4,50,000 considering each of these morchas cost around Rs 75,000. Officials said the mobility of the morchas adds as an incentive. “We would change the position of these morchas every day. This will ensure a better check of the station premise and also eliminate chances to record the position of the staff. As any miscreant would first want to target a security official armed in uniform, the mobility of the morchas would ensure the position keeps changing,” Bhalode said. Approaching and containing a target through these morchas becomes easy, officials said. They would be in place by July end.