Cash crunch hits Indian Railways



New Delhi: The cash crunch in Railways has hit the crucial Rs 344-crore security project involving installation of advanced surveillance system at sensitive stations across the country.

Despite a delay of over two years, Railways are yet to install the Internet Protocol (IP)-based CCTV cameras and vehicle scanners as part of the Integrated Security System at important stations including New Delhi, Nizamuddin and Old Delhi, according to a senior Northern Railways official.

Against the backdrop of growing security threats to trains, Railways had decided to implement the security system project at 195 stations in the country at a cost of Rs 344.31 crore to be managed by Railway Protection Force.

The public sector behemoth faces a revenue shortfall of about Rs 2000 crore till October as its earnings from the loadings of coal, iron ore and foodgrains have fallen due to various factors.

The Public Accounts Committee, in its report, has pointed out that Railways security mechanism was inadequate and surveillance at stations ineffective posing serious threat to the safety of passengers.

Railways' properties have in the recent past come under terror and Naxal attacks, prompting an urgent need for strengthening and upgrading the security system at stations.

The Integrated Security System comprises mainly CCTV surveillance, access control, personal and baggage screening system, explosive detection and disposal system, vehicle scanner and systems integration.

The IP-based CCTV cameras can send alerts on unattended baggage and the surveillance system can be monitored anywhere through the Internet besides the control room.

There are 10 stations including New Delhi, Nizamuddin and Old Delhi in Delhi Division which are to be covered under it at an estimated cost of Rs 22 crore.

Admitting delay in installing IP-based surveillance system in New Delhi and other stations, the senior Northern Railway official said, "There is a little bit of cash crunch problem. However, the inspection and procurement of CCTV cameras are in the process and New Delhi station will be the first to have a such advanced surveillance system in the country."

According to the official, there will be a total of 160 IP-based CCTV cameras including 98 fixed and 62 rotating ones to be installed at vital points in New Delhi station.

There will be a total of 531 cameras to be installed in Delhi Division including 137 cameras in Old Delhi and 65 cameras in Nizamuddin station as per the proposal, he said.

Currently New Delhi station, which handles more than five lakh passengers and 275 trains a day, has 63 analog CCTV cameras.

"These analog cameras will be replaced with IP-based cameras which are part of the most advanced surveillance system," the official said, adding, "The cameras would be procured from Taiwan and Hongkong."

PTI