Tight security arrangements are in place at major stations across Southern Railway in view of the increasing influx of tourists this summer.
While mounting vigil at important junctions like Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruchi, the Government Railway Police have chalked out a scheme exclusively for Central and Egmore stations in Chennai where floating population is estimated to the tune of about 6 lakh passengers/visitors each day.
Acting on the instructions of the Additional Director General of Police (Railways) R. Sekar, police stepped up security by enhancing surveillance at vulnerable places, educating passengers on basic safety aspects and conducting random anti-sabotage checks.
Plainclothesmen were deployed on trains and railway premises to keep tabs on habitual offenders.
“We have a dossier comprising details of extremist elements and other criminals against whom cases are pending. Police will look for the movement of such suspects on railway stations. Almost all the express trains in the zone are covered by escort police personnel equipped with weapons and wireless communication facilities,” Mr. Sekar said.
While coordinating with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in checking empty rakes of trains before they are brought on to platforms, police would screen baggage/parcels using metal detectors and sniffer dogs. Movement of passengers on all platforms and concourse would be monitored live from the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) control room, Mr. Sekar said.
According to the Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Ponram, an average of six lakh people visited the Chennai Central railway station alone everyday. “We expect this number to increase by about two lakh this summer. More than 100 policemen have been roped in from other units for security purposes,” he said.
Mr. Ponram said police were using ‘Explosive Vapour Tracer' devices to check suspicious baggage or parcels. A round-the-clock police booth would function in the concourse of the Central station to assist the public.
“In the event of an exigency, passengers can call or send SMS to ‘9962500500' for police assistance. Separate teams have been formed to prevent crimes and check eve-teasing in express and suburban trains.”
A police team while checking a Bangalore-bound train at the Central station on Saturday found 500 kg of rice concealed beneath berths in an unreserved coach. The suspects who attempted to smuggle the rice meant for Public Distribution System escaped probably on seeing the police.
The rice would be handed over to the Civil Supplies CID of the State police for further investigation, the police sources added.