Scanners at rly stations weren’t a necessity

In a freewheeling discussion with The Indian Express editorial staff on future plans of Central Railway (CR) and the challenges before it, general manager Subodh Jain talks about security issues facing the suburban railway system and possible improvements to trains and stations. Excerpts

KALPANA VERMA: What do you think of the elevated corridors being planned for suburban railways?

Subodh Jain: In Mumbai, buildings are getting taller and because of this, low-lying railway lines have become more prone to flooding during monsoon.

Elevated corridors will minimise problems of the city and commuters. They will take around 20 per cent of the traffic, easing the burden on existing lines.

SWATEE KHER: With frequent terror attacks and especially after 26/11, what efforts has the government made to secure railway stations?

SJ: We are operational units and our main job is to run trains punctually. However, an integral security system is being implemented on railway premises and Rs 27 crore has been sanctioned for it. CCTV cameras installed at major stations have helped crack many cases. Continuous monitoring of CCTV camera footage is the focus. Of course, dog squads need to be there. Presence of security men acts as a deterrent. CCTVs cannot be a preventive measure.

MAYURA JANWALKAR: Don't you think there should be video surveillance on local trains as security at in-between stations may not be as strict as at main stations such as Churchgate and CST.

SJ: That is a good point to consider. The new set of local trains manufactured by German firm Bombardier Transportation support hi-tech mobile video surveillance. These coaches will be available by March 2013. CR may install hi-tech CCTV cameras with IP technology in these coaches. But this system is not possible in existing coaches.

SWATEE KHER: Scanning machines were put up in haste, what purpose are they serving?

... contd.

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