About 200 trains from all directions pass through Vijayawada daily
Even as rumours are doing rounds on sabotage as a possible reason for the Tamil Nadu Express tragedy, which killed 32 people near Nellore, the railway authorities are keen on beefing up security in the busy city railway station.
A visit to the station here reflects not a very serious view on the security front, especially on platforms, parking lots, shopping complexes, waiting halls, and in trains.
About 200 trains from all directions pass through Vijayawada railway junction making it one of the busiest stations in the Indian Railways. Hundreds of thousands of passengers visit the station every day to travel to evert nook and corner of the country.
There is no checking or frisking of people entering the station through the three entrances on Platform No.1 or No.10. Even at the parcel office, where there is hectic activity on a daily basis, there is very little vigil by the security personnel.
Passengers are worried over the security of their articles while on board the trains and cite series of thefts on trains in the recent past as examples. The Government Railway Police (GRP) officials said that the railway officials had given permission to the private companies to display their publicity material on the platforms making the job of the policemen all the more difficult. “Anyone can plant an explosive inside these advertisement cubicles and it would be a Herculean task for the police to detect,” said then GRP Superintendent of Police M. Naganna.
He said that the police often found it tough to conduct checks on platforms when they received a threatening call owing to the presence of number of advertisement objects. “The metal detector at the entrance is not functioning and there is no scan on passengers, parcels and luggage at the main gate. Government should fill the vacancies in GRP, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Vigilance, provide foolproof security,” said a passenger P. Prasanth. “The SCR should arrange scanners and conduct frisking at all the entrances and exit points of the station to prevent inflammable material entering the premises,” said a passenger.