Experts say an integrated approach, involving co-ordination between the Maharashtra government’s various security agencies and the railway police, is essential to improve security at railway stations, many of which still lack basic security measures to protect Mumbai’s 80 lakh daily train travellers.
The state government should ensure closer coordination between the city police, the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and the two wings of the railway police – the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF), experts say.
PS Pasricha, a former director general of police who was head of the state police during the July 2006 train blasts, said, “There is a need for a high-tech control room supervised by the city police, the ATS and the railway police. This would not only help prevent untoward incidents but also ensure that all agencies are activated if one does occur.”
Samir Zaveri, a railway expert, added, “The security apparatus needs to evolve with the times. CST, which was targeted in the 26/11 terror attack, can even today be accessed easily by car from its new entrance near platform 18. The entrance has a baggage scanner but gives direct access to the platform. If this is the state of affair at CST, the situation at other stations must be worse.”
The RPF, however, claims is it taking steps to improve security. “We work closely with all agencies, including the GRP. We will also get at least 700 more personnel in late July; they will fill our vacancies to a large extent and help increase efficiency,” said Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (Central Railway).