The bomb blast in an express train at the Dr. MGR Chennai Central Station in May 2014 and the daylight murder of a woman commuter at Nungambakkam in June 2016 came as a rude wake-up call for Southern Railway and made it focus on improving the safety and security of commuters.
The Indian Railways made an allocation exclusively for improving the safety and security under the Nirbhaya Fund.
In the first phase, Southern Railway identified the need to commission an integrated security system (ISS), comprising installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, baggage scanners, and door frame metal detectors at important stations attracting huge crowds. With the allocation from the Nirbhaya Fund, the ISS was commissioned at 15 important stations spread across six divisions, with Chennai Division gaining prominence.
Southern Railway then initiated the Video Surveillance System (VSS) for installing CCTV cameras through Railtel. B. Guganesan, Chief Public Relations Officer, said: “In the first phase, 136 railway stations were fitted with the VSS at a cost of ₹67.94 crore. While the VSS has been commissioned at 43 stations in 2020-21, work is in progress at the remaining 93 stations.
Hoping to make the entire network a safe commutation zone, Southern Railway proposes to install the VSS at 441 stations in the second phase. The 441 stations, which comes under D and E categories, are being fitted with the VSS.