To step up efforts to trace missing people across the city, the Mumbai police have now started to use the railway police’s online portal ‘Shodh’, a dedicated platform to help families track down missing railway accident victims.
According to data provided by the government railway police (GRP), 37 persons have been found by the Mumbai Police since the initiative kickstarted a fortnight ago.
“According to data available with us, 50 per cent of deaths on Railways end up as unidentified bodies. This is an alarming figure. We believe that a missing person is most likely to have used the rail network as a mode of transportation to travel either in or out of the city. If they were victims of railway accidents or were even injured, their information will be stored on Shodh,” said Pravin Patil, deputy commissioner of police (enforcement).
The website, Shodh (shodh.gov.in), was launched on July 26, 2012, to help establish the identity of railway accident victims.
“We can cross check photographs, possessions and all additional information of missing people,” said Pravin Patil
According to the data, all the missing people found were discovered dead and were found registered across various railway police stations in and around Mumbai. The maximum people found were in Vashi, where 19 such missing people were traced as rail accident victims. While seven were traced to the Kurla railway police, several traced cases were recorded at six other railway police stations in Mumbai.
“With Shodh, we at least give ourselves an additional 10 per cent chance to find the missing people that we are trying to trace,” Pravin Patil added.
Calling it a “unique system”, Mahesh Patil, deputy commissioner of police (zone V), said Shodh “avoids overlaps and has made it easier to find people.”
“We have instructed our officials to uploads information of missing people on Shodh and that provides a clearer way to find people. Many children are believed to be travelling unattended and can be injured in some accident. Shodh does not let any death go unnoticed as personal records of deceased are stored,” said Vasant Dhobale, assistant commissioner of police of the Missing Persons Bureau.
“We tabulate all possible details, listing various ways an aggrieved family can identify a missing person. Complainants usually file complaints at the local police station level but they ought to check the website once. More missing people will be traced with this interface between the police and public,” said Ravinder Kumar Singal, railway police commissioner.
According to police data, in the last three months, the police have traced 2,608 missing people. Of these, 643 are children — 275 boys and 368 girls.