13 Mar : In a first of its kind initiative, the Railway and Defence Ministries have joined hands to set up a modern institute where the Army will impart specialised training to the nearly 6,000 personnel of the Railway Territorial Army to combat new types of crime.
Top sources in the Railway Ministry said they have joined hands with the Defence Ministry and have already started working towards establishing the training institute in Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh) at a cost of Rs five crore.
The RTA was raised as an auxiliary force in 1949 for maintaining rail communication in forward areas during active hostilities and maintenance of essential rail transportation in the country in peace time.
"But, as the pattern of crime is changing and the country is witnessing frequent terror strikes, these men will be armed with the latest techniques and tactics," they said.
"It will be a modern training institute, equipped with the latest weaponry and gadgets. Other than providing basic training, personnel will be given advanced training to combat modern day crimes," the sources said.
They said the Army, as and when the need arises, would utilise the services of the RTA personnel.
Sources said initially RTA personnel were recruited to extend their services in emergency like strikes.
"But as the usual pattern of crime is changing and the country witnessing frequent terror strikes, these men will be armed with latest techniques and tactics," they said.
At present, there are six RTA regiments at Kota, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Jamalpur (Jharkhand), Jhansi and Adra (West Bengal) which are training around 6,000 personnel to deal with any untoward incidents.
The RTA is primarily manned by the serving railway personnel with the help of a small nucleus of permanent staff drawn from regular Army.
Sources said the institute will be ready by early next year and the railways would bear an expenditure of nearly Rs two crores annually on training these regiments.
The Railway Territorial Army personnel serve for 12-years before being eligible for retirement and are given extra monetary benefits for their special services.