Official apathy ensures grand CST security plan remains a non-starter
Four months on, multi-zone doorframe metal detectors still not in place
IT is the most sensitive railway station in the Mumbai Division, but Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) has been left to its fate on the security front. Months have gone by without the station getting the security equipment it was promised.
Multi-zone doorframe metal detectors were supposed to be installed at CST in July, but are still not in place.
The busiest railway station on the suburban and main line has been ignored to the extent that passengers are now asking whether the railway authorities are waiting for another major incident at CST to wake up to the need for security.
In July, railway officials had confirmed that they would be installing 35 out of 85 multi-zone detectors at CST. Four months on, the new, advanced doorframe detectors are lying at different railway stations of the Central Railway (CR).
The station was one of the places targeted by terrorists on November 26, 2008, and 52 persons were dead and 98 injured in the mayhem at CST.
The integrated security system was supposed to be installed immediately after the attack, but work on it has not started even after four years.
The Rs 23.53 crore project involves the installation of better quality CCTV cameras and multi-zone doorframe metal detectors, among other things.
“It is very sad that even after four years of such a big and devastating attack, we have still not understood the importance of security at railway stations,” a CR official said on condition of anonymity. “The handheld detectors were discontinued long ago and the DFMDs (doorframe metal detectors) have been removed and kept aside since months.”
In October, it was announced that the RPF would be installing baggage scanners at six entry points, a plan that was criticised for ignoring the entry point at the suburban section.
“If somebody wants to enter the CST premises, he need not do so only from the main line entry; he can make an entry from the suburban section entrance also,” the CR official said. “It’s just unclear what kind of a survey the RPF does and for whom.”
Every day more than 10 lakh passengers use CST, where the suburban section and the main line together have 18 platforms.
At present, there is an only one baggage scanner, placed opposite the taxi stand in the main line section.
It has also been observed that the crowds swell, the baggage scanners are not used much and some have also been reported to be in non-working condition.
RPF not too strict
The doorframe metal detectors at one entry point in the main line section have been removed, while the DFMDs just beside the scanners are not used by most passengers.
“RPF staff are deployed near the baggage scanners and near DFMDs, but very rarely do they check whether passengers entering the station premises are using the DFMDs or not,” another senior railway official said, also requesting anonymity.
In the suburban section, though the DFMDs have not been in use for years, these have still not been removed, resulting in frequent complaints from commuters about the devices having become obstacles for them during peak hours.
Shweta Upadhyay, who works in Fort and has to cross CST every day, said, “It is really unfortunate that after promising so much to passengers, railways authorities are not taking the issue of security seriously and are ignoring the needs of lakhs of passengers. ”
Central Railway divisional railway manager Mukesh Nigam said, “The security equipment will be installed very soon. We have purchased the equipment.”
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