New Delhi: Coming down heavily on the Railways for "large gaps" in security system at stations, the country`s top auditor CAG has recommended effective arrangements to be worked out by its administration in coordination with state governments for safety of passengers.
The CAG, in its latest report on "Security Management in Indian Railway", has also observed that the Railways has not formulated any composite plan in consultation with state governments for ensuring safety and security of its assets, especially tracks and bridges and overhead equipment.
"There were large gaps in the security system formulated for ensuring passenger security at stations. The integrated security system (ISS) formulated in July 2008 for ensuring passenger security at stations had large gaps," the report said.
It observed that boundary walls, fencing of stations and provisions of adequate lighting at stations were excluded from the ISS` purview.
Noting, that the ISS was to be implemented on 137 stations by March 2010, the report has revealed that the system was not implemented in any of the zones till that time.
The terrorist attack at Mumbai CST in November 2008 and a couple of major incidents of sabotage in the recent past, including the derailment of the Jnaneswari Express in May 2010, which resulted in the death of 150 passengers, highlight the problems of railway security, it said.
The number of accidents attributed to sabotage increased from six in 2005-06 to 14 in 2009-10.
In view of the increased security threat, the CAG felt it necessary to assess the security concerns of the Railways.
There has been a distinct rise in crime rate at railway premises indicating that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) needs to upgrade the level of security provided at stations,
the CAG report said.
It noted that the total crime rate has more than doubled in the last five years. The places most vulnerable to crime are railway stations and goods sheds and yards.
However, it observed, the deployment of RPF at these places has not been modified in accordance with the increase in crime rates.
The crime rate at stations increased from 5,368 in 2005-06 to 9,201 in 2009, an increase of 71 per cent, whereas the deployment of RPF at stations was 9,345 in 2005-06, which increased to 10,687 in 2009-10 an increase of 14 per cent only.
"Railways` primary responsibility is to ensure safe and smooth running of trains, both passenger and freight. For this, secure and obstruction-free rail track is essential.
High level committee has also recommended that technological solutions need to be found for ensuring better surveillance of tracks in sensitive areas.
"Though RPF is empowered to investigate and raid the suspect`s premises and arrest culprits, the detection of theft cases is not very satisfactory," the CAG said.
It noted that the percentage of detection of cases had never gone beyond 39 per cent in Eastern Railway in the last five years. Similarly, full value of the property could not be recovered in any of the years.
The government auditor suggested that it is essential that the Railways work out an arrangement with state government authorities for adequate steps to intensify track
patrolling and institutionalize the coordination mechanism with them to ensure security of passengers and running trains in sabotage-prone areas.
It has asked the Railways to register all claim cases with the RPF for proper investigation and apprehension of culprits.
The increase in number of accidents due to sabotage and successful rail roko agitations indicate the need for greater cooperation and coordination between the Railways and state
governments, the report said.