Within a year, the important railway stations in and around the Capital will boast of security similar to the snazzy airports.
Works for a massive upgrade of the security arrangement at the 10 most important stations in Delhi and neighbourhood have started with a sanctioned budget of more than Rs 23 crore.
Apart from the mega-terminal stations like New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin, satellite stations such as Ghaziabad and Anand Vihar too will come under the comprehensive security net.
The scale of the work — with access control, scanning of baggage and interception and screening of vehicles to explosives-detection and disposal —will turn the stations into virtual fortresses.
The Integrated Security System, as the upgrade work is called, gains importance because of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
“We will be comfortably ready for the Commonwealth Games. The sheer enormity of the deployment of security systems acts as a deterrent,” said Vivek Sahai, general manager of Northern Railway.
With the system in place, all baggage will be screened through X-ray machines eliminating the need for manual checking.
More security personnel will be carrying handheld metal and explosive detectors, while automatic machines will scan cars for bombs.
In terms of volume, it is a tenfold increase in the security arrangement.
The salient feature of the plan is to bring the smaller stations like Delhi Sarai
Rohilla, Delhi Cantonment and Shadara in the integrated security plan.
“The smaller stations have been the vulnerable spots in railway security, compromising the security of the bigger stations as well. Now we will plug those holes,” said a senior railway official.
More than 223 security cameras are being brought in to weave a network of electronic surveillance .
Sahai said the revamp would also help during the Kumbh Mela, the biggest congregation of humans in the world, next year. “The massive number of people using railways across North India will put tremendous pressure on security. The new system will help tackle that rush easily,” he said.