The fourth largest rail network in the world, which carries 22.5 million passengers a day, struggles to put security blanket at station premises
Vishwas Dass | October 9, 2018
Six out of the 16 zones of the Indian Railways did not get a network of close circuit television (CCTV) cameras till June this year due to unknown reasons, raising many eyebrows among the higher-ups. A report tabled by Indian Railways in the Lok Sabha reveals that it installed 1,041 CCTV cameras at several railway stations across the 16 zones except Central Railway, East Coast Railway, South Central Railway, South Eastern Railway, Southern Railway and Western Railway till June 2018.
Installation of ultra-modern security gadgets at the stations, coaching workshops, maintenance yard holds importance for the railways as it enables the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to keep an eye on unscrupulous elements.
It is highly unlikely that the six zones named above have got a sufficient number of CCTVs in the three months since June, said an official on condition of anonymity.
The Mumbai-headquartered Central Railway, having five divisional offices in Mumbai, Nagpur, Bhusawal, Pune and Sholapur, is considered one of the most important zones in the Railways. Though a significant number of Mumbai stations have been covered with the CCTV network, a number of other less prominent stations are yet to be equipped with such cameras.
The railways installed 72 CCTV cameras in Central Railway, 48 in East Coast Railway, one in South Central Railway, 116 in Southern Railway and 153 in Western Railway in 2017. No CCTV cameras were installed in the South Eastern Railway in 2017 as well.
The national transporter has installed 7,166 CCTV cameras in the past four years: 2,022 cameras in 2015, 2,880 in 2016, 1,223 in 2017 and 1,041 in 2018 till June.
There are over 8,000 stations across the country which includes around 200 major stations having over eight platforms and a massive passenger footfall.
Railways minister Piyush Goyal, while assuming office in 2017, had stressed upon improving security at the railway premises by installing modern gadgets. However, the claim so far has proved to be a farce as the stations still wait to get a coverage of high zoom capacity CCTV cameras to keep a close vigil on suspicious elements.
The routine maintenance of such expensive cameras is another issue which needs the railways’ attention as the reports of defunct or dysfunctional cameras often grab headlines in the media.
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