With the city on high alert after the Hyderabad serial blasts, concerns have been raised over the security arrangements at key railway stations on the suburban rail network.
More than two months after door frame metal detectors were removed from three prominent railway stations with the intent of replacing them with advanced ones, two stations have not received the detectors yet, while the third has received them, but unfortunately no security personnel has been witnessed manning it, making these stations a sitting duck.
In December last year, door sensors were removed from the busy Churchgate and Mumbai Central railway stations with the aim to replace them with advanced multi-zonal door frame metal detectors. But, most worryingly, authorities are uncertain when the new metal detectors would be received and installed.
In the case of the third station - CST - which has already seen a devastating terror attack in the past, the station has been fitted with 35 new-age metal detectors, but with no manpower to back them up. MiD DAY had highlighted the concerns in an article (‘Security porous at CST even with Rs 1-cr equipment’, February 15).
Nearly, 7.24 million passengers commute on the Central and Western railway daily. Sandip Silas, DRM, WR, said, “We have started the procurement process and within three months, 40 new advanced metal detectors would be installed at Churchgate, Mumbai Central and Bandra station.” Anil Sharma, chief security commissioner, RPF (CR), said, “The work is ongoing and it will all fall into place within sometime.”
Authorities have enhanced security measures at railway stations by increasing patrols and conducting frequent checks with dog squads. Even toilets and canteens at the stations are being checked for suspicious objects or passengers.
Also, for the first time the Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel have been directed to work as team. “We had a meeting with senior officials of both security agencies yesterday, wherein it was decided that we should work together,” said a senior RPF official.
Terror at CST
CST was one of the places targeted by the terrorists on November 26, 2008. Fifty-two passengers were killed and 98 were injured after terrorists opened fire in the station’s concourse.