Security takes backseat at Ludhiana railway station
Non-functional scanning equipment, out-of-order CCTV cameras, defunct metal detectors put passengers safety at risk; miscreants and unauthorised vendors enter the station from unmanned multiple entriespunjab Updated: Jun 21, 2018 13:03 IST
Multiple unmanned entries, non-functional scanning equipment, out-of-order CCTV cameras and shortage of security personnel —welcome to the largest railway station of the Ferozepur division — the Ludhiana railway station, where security has gone for a toss.
There are only two metal detectors installed at two manned gates, but those too are non-operational. Moreover, six of the 18 CCTV cameras installed at the junction are also not functional.This junction records a footfall of over 70,000 people but there is no check on the multiple entries.
In 2009, Ludhiana railway station had become a target of a suspected terrorist Balbir Singh Bhootna who opened fire at the station, killing a vendor and injuring two GRP cops. Even as risk of such attacks looms large, nothing has been done for security at the station here. Also, the luggage of passengers entering the station is also not checked in the absence of an X-ray machine.
Only 3 manned entrances
There are only three manned entrances to the platforms, one is the main gate to platform number 1, where two policemen of Government Railway Police (GRP) are always present but the metal detector installed at the entry side is non-functional.
Moreover, passengers were also found entering the platform number 1 through the exit gate. The another entrance is from the ticket booking hall to platform number 1, where GRP cops are present but again the metal detector installed there do not work.
The third entrance is from the civil lines side, where a GRP post is located but there is no metal detector here at all. Passengers entering the station from here have to climb a foot over bridge that further connects to all the platforms of the station.
Apart from these, there are several unmanned entry points to the station and one can easily walk in. People were seen entering the platform number 1 from transit parcel office gate, parcel shed and gate near power cabin.
Many passengers also enter station by walking along the railway lines from Lakkar Bridge and Jagraon Bridge areas.
During the check, HT team also discovered some damage boundary wall that was earlier constructed along the railway lines, near Lakkar Bridge to prevent the entry of people. Officials confirmed that many miscreants and unauthorised vendors enter the station through this area.
Next, the team found broken boundary walls at the civil lines in the area of railway quarters and even seen the railway employees entering the space between the boundary wall and crossing railway lines to walk into station premises.
Railway Protection Force in-charge inspector Pawan Wasisht said that there are 57 personnel deployed at the city railway station. “Many of our cops and GRP staff are always present near Lakkar Bridge and Jagroan Bridge in a civil dress, especially from 9pm to 5am,” he said. Wasisht said that he has already written to the seniors, demanding fencing around railway lines to prevent entry of miscreants.
‘Running short of staff’
Government Railway Police station house officer sub-inspector Inderjeet Singh claimed they are facing shortage of staff. There are 18 cops working at a time and of them some are deployed at circulating area and at three main entry gates. “Although there is a staff shortage but we are putting are efforts to ensure security at the station,” he said.
Station director Abhinav Singla said that he had received a letter from RPF for sealing some illegal entry points. “I have forwarded the letter to the senior divisional officer for improving the infrastructure and sealing the multiple entries,” he said.
He added that the GRP department has been told to get the non-functional CCTV cameras repaired soon. Rest, the cops of both RPF and GRP department are present round the clock at the station to ensure proper security, he added.
First Published: Jun 21, 2018 13:02 IST