The Northern Railways might have spruced up security by increasing the number of bag scanners at major Delhi stations, but manning the fenceless compounds still remains a bane.
The fenceless stations of the Capital, which handle an average crowd of around 17 lakh daily, have bag scanners only because their presence create a psychological impact on passengers' mind that they are in a secure area. The passengers, however, are just stepping from one unsafe zone to another as the stations are open from all sides, said a senior railway officer, requesting anonymity.
In a Delhi police security audit held three months ago, the police had asked the northern railways to wall the boundaries of stations to make it a secure zone. "What can a bag scanner at a standard entry do when you have all sides open and anyone can enter the station premises from wherever he wants? It's nothing more than an eyewash," the railway officer added.
According to a northern railways official, Rs15 crore is the total budget amount allocated to installing scanners at major stations in Delhi, which is a major part of the total allocated budget.
To handle an average crowd of four lakh people at Old Delhi station, there are only seven entries where these scanners have been placed.
However, half of the scanners placed at the major stations remain out of order due to the heavy traffic load.
The northern railways claim that installing bag scanners at stations is the first phase of sprucing up security at major railway stations, and the second phase would include fencing all major stations.
"Installing bag scanners is the first phase of our security plan. Next, we are going to build boundary walls around the stations. It is not that the bag scanners are completely useless. They do help in providing an additional security cover. We also conduct random checking in the outskirts of stations," said SK Sharma, Chief PRO, northern railways.