Indian Railways has identified 185 railway stations all over the country that could be vulnerable to terrorist strikes and is taking measures to upgrade the security system, Union Minister of State for Railways R Velu has told Parliament.
Of these, 17 are metro stations where Indian Railways plans to upgrade the security system, said Velu replying to a starred question in the Lok Sabha.
"The railways have started procuring X-ray machines to install them at selected places on these railway stations," the minister said.
One such machine has been installed at Kolkata in the Chitpur terminal railway station and another at Delhi Main railway station on Platform no. 18, where the Delhi-Attari Express berths. The train carries passengers bound for the Pakistan border at Attari and had been the target of terror bombings in February this year in which 65 people, mostly Pakistani passengers, were killed.
The minister also said that the different zonal railways have ordered 29 more X-ray machines for their respective terrorist-sensitive stations/platforms.
Besides this, the Indian Railways is getting more trained sniffer dogs, bomb detection and disposal equipments, handheld metal detectors, doorframe metal detectors and closed-circuit cameras and television system for these railway stations.
The railways have installed closed-circuit television cameras on important platforms at 31 railway stations so far, said Velu in reply to another starred question in the Lok Sabha.
These include three in Bihar - Patna, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur; Chennai Egmore in Tamil Nadu; Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulum and Trichur in Kerala; Manmad, Nasik Road, Nagpur, Dadar, Kurla, Thane Kalyan, Vashi and Nanded in Maharashtra; Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh; Bangalore city in Karnataka; Allahabad, Naini, Prayag (all in Allahabad town), Agra Cantonment and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh; Gwalior and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh; Howrah, Sealdah, New Jalpaiguri and 17 metro stations of Kolkata metro rail in West Bengal and Hazrat Nizamuddin and Delhi Main railway station in Delhi.
Many important railway stations have a closed-circuit TV system for several years. These were mostly used for making train-timing announcements or by the local advertisers to promote their products.
But now the selection of stations for such systems has been made with security concerns in mind. The decision was taken in financial year 2006-07. The minister promised to cover the remaining important railway stations with such TV systems as and when funds were available.
Velu said: "Strengthening of security measures at railway stations, including installation of closed-circuit televisions and cameras, is an on-going process. The expenditure to be incurred thereon is Rs 349.91 billion."