Unofficial station entry points pose big security risk

Aug 13, 2012, 08:27 IST | Sukirt D. Gumaste

Serious security issues at station as several unofficial entrances, infrastructural lapses defeat purpose of vigilance at authorised entry points; GRP say railway officials turning deaf ear to their pleas to close illegal openings.

Three are many unauthorised entrances and infrastructural lapses at the Pune railway station, a serious security issue that has been left unaddressed by the authorities. As a result, there is direct and unrestricted access to all platforms, tracks and other areas on the railway station premises.

According to the Government Railway Police (GRP), there are many illegal entry points that trespassers use and these pose a great security threat. GRP sources said the railway authorities were turning a blind eye to this serious problem.

Nothing official about it:  An entrance that is restricted to the general public is used by people to gain direct access to the railway station platforms as no security men are deployed at the spot. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Broken walls, back gates
The protection wall for railway tracks is broken at the bridge near Alankar Talkies and people can reach the second and third platform by walking along the tracks. Many people from the slums near the Wadia College bridge can be seen walking in and out of the railway station. There are also many gates at the back of the central cabinet, which is the signal control room of the Pune Railway Division.

There are other unauthorised entry points at the electric locomotive shed and Maldhakka chowk, from where people can walk along the tracks up to the station, as well as at the railway yards on either end of the station.  There are no ticket checkers or staff from the railway administration at these points. People without platform tickets can be found on all six platforms and the foot over-bridges.

Unguarded: A gate restricted to the general public has no security men to keep a watch. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

“By sending a letter to the railway authorities, we have given detailed information about these spots, but so far they have closed only one entrance, the one located at the parcel office,” Senior Police Inspector (GRP) Mahendra Rokade said. “We are demanding closure of all such spots by constructing a wall or a proper gate. In the current scenario, what is the use of the metal detector and scanner installed at the main entrance to the station? Today anybody can enter the premises from the unauthorised entry points.” 

GRP manpower crunch
The GRP recently deployed two policemen near the central cabinet, but they do not have enough manpower to cover all the entrances.  There are 150 policemen for the Pune Railway Division, which has 37 stations from Neera to Karjat. “We need an additional 150 policemen. Currently for Pune station we have diverted our force by appointing two security men for every platform,” Rokade said. “We are demanding the railway administration provide additional security guards for the sensitive areas.”

Passing the buck
Railway officials said the security of the station and other law and order issues were the responsibility of the GRP. “Thousands of people visit the railway station every day and it is not feasible to check everybody,” a railway official said, requesting anonymity. “We have closed many entry points, but the slum areas near the station are creating lots of problems. The slum dwellers enter the station using many methods and it is not possible to control them.” 

Security concerns
>> Though 34 CCTV cameras have been installed at different parts of the station, according to the GRP the quality of the CCTV system is not up to the mark
>>  A metal detector and scanner installed only at the main gate, but even this does not work properly
>>  Many unauthorised gates on the premises of the Pune railway station
>>  Lack of manpower

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