Third eye to monitor railway stations in Chennai Division

Chennai: Following the hacking incident at the Chepet Railway Station which shocked the city recently, the Chennai Suburban trains and MRTS network have yet again come under scrutiny among the eyes of commuters.

On 15 June, Surendar hacked Thenmozhi (25) after getting into an argument over his proposal to marry her. Surendar injured her face with a sickle and attempted to kill himself with the same weapon. Both are undergoing treatment.

The incident brought back memories of the the ‘Swathi murder case’ which occurred at Nungambakkam railway station three years ago. The crime has made Southern Railway officials to take steps to bring stations under CCTV surveillance.

A senior senior official from the Signal & Telecommunications branch, Southern Railway speaking to News Today said, “In Chennai Division, out of 136 railway stations selected for CCTV coverage, 11 stations including Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Tambaram, Basin Bridge, Tiruvallur, Chennai Beach, Mambalam, Moore Market Complex, Katpadi have been provided with the cameras. The rest of the stations will be soon covered where tenders have been issued by RailTel.”

According to a spokesperson from RailTel, the firm was entrusted with the work of providing CCTV cameras at selected stations across India and tender was floated. “The tender was discharged on technical ground and further the specifications have been revised by Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to create a better and more robust system,” said the spokesperson.

‘Based on the revised specifications, open tender for CCTV work has been floated and the tender is due for opening 22 July. It usually takes three to four weeks’ time for installation of cameras at stations and commissioning of system as a whole that includes application software installation,’ said the spokesperson.

The official added, “The project of installing CCTV cameras are being funded under Nirbhaya Fund. As per the contract, once installed, the cameras will be under warranty of three years and five years annual maintenance contract thereafter.”

A recent report revealed that the Southern Railway has also decided to outsource private security agencies at stations. Sources said that manpower shortage is one of major reasons for this move. RPF personnel find it difficult to canvas the entire premise of the station as they patrol normally at the platforms only, sources added.

Reports show that about 10 lakh citizens use trains for commuting everyday in Chennai alone. Passengers always appear to be concerned about the lack of safety.

Vishnu, who regularly travels on Beach-Chengalpattu train, said, “Most stations are not safe after peak hours. I have personally witnessed anti-social elements creating ruckus inside trains too.” He then voiced his concern about the lack of CCTV cameras. “Some stations have cameras only at certain premises. Also, I hardly see RPF personnel,” he said.

Another commuter, Fathima who uses MRTS said, “When I travel from Chennai Beach to Thiruvanymur, I find stations dark in the night.”

Mohammed Rayaan