Security in Chennai’s Railway Stations to be Augmented, Nirbhaya Fund Backs Initiative

Source: pixabay
CHENNAI, JULY 20: As a step towards ensuring safety round-the-clock, the Nungambakkam railway station is in the process of installing 14 CCTV cameras on its platforms. A control room, from where the station surveillance will happen, is also being set up at Mambalam railway station.


 The CCTV installation comes a year after 24-year-old Swathi was stabbed to death on the station’s  platform. It is financed by the Nirbhaya Fund, which was created by the Centre in 2013 to support government and NGO initiatives that ensure the safety of women. RailTel, a public sector undertaking, has been tasked with executing the project. The execution and implementation is being supervised by the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Southern Railways.
“13 cameras have already been installed, but they are not operational yet. The wiring and connection process is underway. Railway Police personnel have been deployed across stations and they can be contacted in case of any emergency”, P. Sethu Madhavan, Assistant Security Commissioner, RPF, Chennai, said.
The Nirbhaya Fund has allocated a total of Rs. 500 crores towards the installation of CCTV cameras in railway stations across India. Of this, Rs. 68 crores has been allocated to Southern Railways.
Nungambakkam is the first station under the Fund to receive finance towards safety and security measures.
 A total of 136 stations in south India have been indentified for the project, of which 82 are in Chennai, including Nungambakkam. Other major stations that will see CCTV cameras installed are Trichy, Madurai, Salem, Trivandrum, and Palakkad.
“The measure is definitely late but it will ensure the safety of commuters”, says Balasubramaniam, a daily commuter.
While some commuters are confident that it will help improve safety for women on the station, others remain skeptical.
“Ensuring safety in just the railway stations will not suffice. During specific hours of the day, trains are virtually empty save for a few people in each compartment. It can be unsafe for women. Clearly, no one came to Swathi’s rescue; no one will do it for another Swathi”, said Abdul Hameed, another commuter.
Integrated Security System
In 2016, the Indian Railways also identified a number of stations that come under the umbrella of Southern Railways to implement the Integrated Security System (ISS) of the Indian Railways, which involves installation of CCTV cameras, under vehicle scanners (UVS), door frame metal detectors, and baggage scanners in “sensitive” stations.
 “We identify stations with heavy influx of commuters and high crime rates as ‘sensitive’”, an RPF official said. Of the 15 stations identified for ISS implementation, six are in Chennai: Chennai Central, Egmore, Beach, Tambaram, Mambalam, and Moore Market Complex.
These stations account for 262 of the 778 cameras allocated to Southern Railways.  
The impact of security initiatives under the Nirbhaya Fund and ISS remains to be seen. Dhananjayan, the Chief Public Relations Officer was unavailable for comments regarding the subject. 

P.S. This report is part of my assignment at college. I’ll publish more of my write-ups subject to approvals from lecturers. I’d love to hear how I can improve my skills! Do leave your comments on this post.

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