Post acid attack, railways plan to upgrade CCTVs

Learning a lesson from the recent acid attack on Preeti Rathi at Bandra terminus on May 2, railway authorities are planning to upgrade the CCTV cameras at stations. The CCTV footage played an important role despite its bad quality in catching Rathi’s attacker. 

The Railway Protection Force officials who monitor CCTV
Zero visibility: The Railway Protection Force officials who monitor CCTV footage at the stations find it difficult to identify offenders with the current crop of cameras. File pic

Western Railway authorities are in the process of upgrading the cameras for better monitoring, which will help the police catch offenders.

According to the Government Railway Police (GRP), many cases remain unsolved due to the bad quality of CCTV footage.

“We can see the culprit as well as what is happening in the footage, but when we try to zoom in, the picture gets blurred. Many offenders take undue advantage as they know about the poor quality of the cameras,” said a senior GRP official.

After a week of verifying CCTV footage at various railway stations like Vadodara, Surat, Kota, Navsari and New Delhi, the GRP succeeded in arresting the culprit in Rathi’s case on Thursday.

Railway authorities are also planning to link the cameras with the Internet Protocol Television. “This has been decided so that not only the RPF staff assigned for monitoring can see the footage but also senior officials can look at it from their offices,” said a WR official.

At present, Western Railway has 500 CCTV cameras at their 28 suburban stations. These CCTV cameras are monitored by the Railway Protection Force personnel and maintained by a private firm. There have been many incidents in the past when the footage failed to give a clear picture of the culprit.

Sandeep Silas, divisional railway manager, WR, said, “We are working on upgrading the CCTV cameras so that culprits can be caught easily.”

The tenders for new cameras will be floated soon with all specifications.

Number of CCTV cameras installed at the 28 suburban stations on the Western Railway              

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