Baggage scanner, metal detectors, cameras to be installed
In two weeks, all passengers and their baggage will be subjected to security checks at the Central Railway Station as the authorities are launching the Integrated Security System (ISS).
Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager Anand Prakash told The Hindu here on Monday that it would be commissioned after the model of code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections ceases to be in force. He was here for the inauguration of the non-vegetarian restaurant at the station. Sources believe that the recent blast in a train in Chennai on May Day is expediting the already delayed launch of the ISS, though Mr. Prakash said it was not so. The equipment was being tested, he said.
Mangalore Central Station and Kozhikode were the major stations in Palakkad division of Southern Railway chosen for installing ISS, to counter any possibility of terror strikes in the stations and to detect culprits quickly in the event of any attack. While the system is functioning in Kozhikode, its Mangalore launch, which was to have happen in 2013, was delayed, according to authoritative sources.
Besides monitoring the activities all over the station using closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, the ISS provides for checking all the baggage, passengers and scanning the under-side of vehicles arriving into the stations.
Already 38 CCTV cameras have been installed in platforms, booking offices and reservation counters, among others. All of them are linked to a control room where the activities can be observed on three monitors. The control room will be linked to divisional headquarters in Palakkad and zonal headquarter in Chennai from where the activities could be monitored through the internet. ISS can store videos clippings from all cameras for 30 days. The parcel scanner will be installed at parcel office while luggage scanner and door frame metal detector will be placed at the entrance to screen commuters and their bags.
However, controlling illegal entry of people could still be a big challenge for the Railway Protection Force, which will operate the ISS on day-to-day basis. Sources, which opted to remain anonymous, said absence of compound wall at the second entry point, has rendered it difficult to screen entry of people. They hoped that the Railways would provide some temporary structures till a compound wall is constructed to restrict entry only to those who buy tickets. The sources agreed that the restaurants on the first platform could be used to gain unbridled entry into the station. “We will have one door closed,” an official said. On his part, the Divisional Railway Manager said, “All exists will be monitored.”
The non-vegetarian restaurant at the Central Railway Station, which was closed for about three months, was reopened with the Railways finding a new contractor to run it.
Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager Anand Prakash, in whose presence it was inaugurated it, said the new contractor will pay Rs. 37 lakh a year to the Railways. It was closed when licence period of previous contractor ended.