Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

RAF deployed along with sniffer dogs; bomb disposal squads increased

NEW DELHI: Realising full well that the state-of-the-art Delhi Metro could become a target of terrorists planning to inflict large-scale damage, security on the railway network has been stepped up. However, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation officials maintain that there is a need to keep constant vigil and mere knee-jerk reactions involving making of announcements and increasing the number of personnel will not do.

While the Rapid Action Force has been deployed along with sniffer dogs and the number of bomb disposal squads has been increased, DMRC is not happy with the overall approach to security. Stating that the Delhi police and the Central Industrial Security Force have become lethargic as far as Metro security is concerned a senior official said not only do they take frisking and profiling of passengers lightly, at times they also allow banned objects such as jerry cans and hardware goods on to the system.

"The kind of baggage and the dimension which is permitted has been clearly told to all these personnel, but most of the time they overlook the importance of profiling each and every passenger going in. All passengers cannot be searched as it would pose numerous operational problems, but at least they can be profiled properly and the suspicious ones can be brought to a side and frisked and searched."

Stating that a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system is operational on the underground Delhi University-Central Secretariat Line 2, an official said at other stations on Shahdara-Rithala Line 1and the Barakhamba-Dwarka Sub City Line 3 cameras have been installed for monitoring of passengers coming in.

"The apparatus is in place, but it is essential that the police personnel man the monitors and constantly remain on the lookout for suspicious persons."

Following the London Metro blasts, the official said, the profiling of passengers had been stepped up there. But the job of providing security lies with the security agencies.

"In London too most of the footage through which the accused were identified and nabbed, was obtained through cameras installed on the streets near the Metro stations. We need a similar set up here also."

However, a senior Delhi police official said DMRC has been sitting over the proposal to install X-ray scanners at all the Metro stations.

The proposal, he said, had been sent in early 2005 but so far nothing has come of it.