6 years after 7/11, WR to spend Rs 15 cr on security

Jul 12, 2012, 06:25 IST | Vedika Chaubey and Shashank Rao

Western Railway will discard metal detectors at stations that are obsolete and non-functional and will implement an integrated security plan consisting of newer metal detectors, X-ray machines and vehicle scanners

Six years ago, serial blasts rocked the city, bringing its lifeline, the suburban local trains to a standstill while leaving 186 dead and injuring 900.

Paying tribute: Relatives and victims of the serial train blasts pay homage to those who lost their lives in the tragic incident at the memorial built at Mahim station yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK

Seven blasts took place in a period of 11 minutes, all which were on the Western Railway (WR) route between Matunga and Mira Road. Six years later, WR authorities and railway police officials are now busy removing the doorframe metal detectors (DFMD) from railway stations as they have become obsolete.

There are 60 DFMDs at different WR stations and out of these, 30 have been identified as non-functional and irreparable. A senior RPF official said, “A committee has been formed to check all the DFMDs installed at all the railway stations and they found that 30 of them need to be replaced.”

This committee comprises of RPF personnel and another official from the security department.

Rajendra Rupnawar, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (WR), said, “We were checking the DFMDs during annual maintenance. We found them to be old and decided to replace them with the latest DFMDs.”

The old doorframes also take up lot of space, becoming a tight squeeze for commuters to walk though during peak hours. These DFMDs are out of order and the RPF claims that they are in the process of installing better machines for security purposes, though this may take over four months.

Security upgrades
“Once these DFMDs will be removed, we will float the tender and then new DFMDs will be installed, though it will take time,” said the official. The new multi-DFMDs will be able to pinpoint an object based on its weight and will be able to identify coins, guns and other metal objects. The officials claim that this would eliminate the unnecessary beep that the DFMDs make when a person passes through it.

Other security arrangements have also been made, such as close circuit cameras and bomb disposal squads at the railway stations.

WR has 14 sniffer dogs that are trained to trace explosives and bombs at stations. WR has installed 468 CCTV cameras at all its railway stations, 354 of which are fixed and 114 are movable.

The WR package for integrated security is Rs 14.7 crore, which will include high-tech gadgets, vehicle scanners, X-ray machines and portable devices.

The trains that suffered severe damage owing to the blasts have also undergone heavy repairs. “The metal sheets of these trains were replaced in a year’s time. Unless the coaches are completely bent, we don’t condemn them and instead look at ways to repair them,” said a WR official.

Meanwhile, WR authorities claim that they have spent Rs 21.83 crore as ex-gratia and compensation to the victims and families of injured and dead during the blast.

Till date, 73 relatives of those who died have been given jobs and 51 applications from minors seeking jobs are under consideration.  

7 blasts
18.24 Khar Road
18.24 Bandra
18.25 Jogeshwari
18.26 Mahim
18.29 Mira Road
18.30 Matunga
18.35 Borivli

Job for bravery
On July 11, BEST decided to employ Prashant Dhanur, one of the persons who informed the police on the day of 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. He had failed to get a job at BEST as he was an inch shorter than the minimum height requirement. He saw the dingy boat at Badhwar Park, which the terrorists allegedly used to enter Mumbai and informed the police. O P Gupta, general manager, BEST said, “By using my power at discretion, as an exceptional case I will grant Dhanur the job, once the BEST committee approves it”.  

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