Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rly cops to go shopping for 'safe' stations

30 Dec 2008, 0409 hrs IST, Devraj Dasgupta, TNN



MUMBAI: Rattled by the fidayeen attack on CST, Director General (DG) of Railway Police Force (RPF) Ranjit Sinha on Monday said his department would
study busy stations all over the world to beef up security at big stations in India.

However, Sinha says no security gadget or techniques can be effective unless public access to railway stations is filtered as in airports.

In Mumbai to review security at city stations, Sinha said an RPF team would study security at other busy stations like Shanghai, Beijing and a few others in the West. "It would help us identify techniques and gadgets to be acquired to upgrade security in the busy stations of India,'' he said. Sinha added there is an immediate plan to install extra X-ray baggage scanners at important stations.

But while speaking of new gadgets, Sinha said these machines would be of no help if there are multiple entry and exit points at big stations. "There should be control on access to the station. What is the logic of five people coming to see off one passenger right inside the station,'' he added. To this extent, he said the RPF is discussing various means with the railways to filter the number of people coming inside stations.

"Maybe, the railways can make platform tickets costly. Something should be done to control access inside stations,'' he said.

Significantly, Sinha said the RPF has decided to convert 12 companies (1,200 men) into a commando strike force. "We have 70,000 men divided into 12 battalions. The RPF would select 1,200 men to create a strike force with separate uniforms and superior firepower,'' he added.

The RPF chief said the strike force would be deployed at all stations across metro cities of India.

Asked if RPF was planning to raise new battalions for Mumbai, Sinha replied in the negative. "We have to manage with available forces. Pulling out personnel from non-core activities like guarding rail hospitals, water treatment plants would free them for core activities,'' he said.

However, Sinha added that the RPF would soon raise three new battalions to guard railway property and passengers in Jammu and Kashmir, the north-east and naxalite-infested areas.

CCTV failure

RPF's DG Ranjit Sinha on Monday accepted that some of the CCTVs installed at the terminus for long-distance trains at CST failed to capture images of the terrorist attack on 26/11 at CST. "It’s a serious issue. We are making an assessment of why some CCTVs did not work on 26/11,'' he sa

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