Arrive at least 20 min ahead of departure: Just like airports, railways plans to seal stations
Railways is planning to seal stations just like airports and passengers would have to arrive 15-20 minutes before scheduled departure of trains to complete the process of security checks.
Passengers may soon have to report early at railway stations because their entry will monitored, like at airports, and random frisking will be carried out before they board the train, according to two senior officials familiar with the matter.
The director general of the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Arun Kumar, said the access control system will be put in place in several sensitive and large railway stations across the country.
“Passengers will be advised to reach early because we will do random frisking, and there will be queues. Also, only genuine passengers will be allowed to enter the station and by plugging gaps — there will be some designated gates to enter the station,” said Arun Kumar. He added , however, that unlike the airport, there will no fixed reporting time.
International travellers are asked by airlines to report at airports three hours before departure, and domestic travellers 90 minutes before departure. The check-in counters and boarding gates are typically shut about 45 and 25 minutes before the departure time.
RPF has started a trial run of the security plan in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), where large crowds are expected due to the Kumbh Mela starting on January 15.
The railways has identified 202 sensitive stations for integrated security system (ISS) and another 983 stations will be brought under closed circuit television (CCTV) camera cover through the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’, Kumar said.
The 202 stations include railway stations in all Metro cities and state capital.
To ensure access control, the railways plans to get 1.2 million cameras under a ₹3,000 investment plan. Some of these cameras will also be installed in train coaches, Kumar said.
The cameras will have a video analytics feature and will keep recordings for 30 days. The areas that will be covered include entry/exit points, circulating areas, concourse, platforms and foot overbridges.
Hindustan Times reported in April that only 394 of the 8,500 railway stations across the country are under full CCTV camera surveillance.
“An automatic vehicle scanner has been recommended for gates from where vehicle enter the station premises. For explosives detection, sniffer dogs and vapour detectors have been recommended,” said a second RPF officer who asked not to be named.
The railway ministry, in consultation with the Union home ministry, constituted a committee in 2009 for recommending a composite security plan for railway security.