Lax security at City railway station a cause of concern

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Bangalore: All three door-frame metal detectors at the entrance are not functioning

Even though security has been tightened at the Bangalore City Railway Station in the wake of the twin blasts onboard the Bangalore-Guwahati Express on Thursday, much of the security apparatus at the railway station remains defunct.

All the three door-frame metal detectors at the entrance of the railway station are not functioning. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel posted at the entrance have been given hand-held metal detectors to scan passengers and luggage. A senior official pointed out that the railway station is not equipped with baggage and vehicle scanners.

The hand-held metal detectors beeps at almost everyone passing by with a key bunch, said a security personnel, adding that “It is impossible for us to physically scan everybody especially during peak hours.”

Besides, of the 100 CCTV cameras installed under the Integrated Security System, only 40 are operational and the rest are yet to be connected to the control room.

So lax is the security at the railway station that a few months ago, the information display monitors were stolen. Though the CCTV camera footage showed a man stealing the display units, he could not be identified due to bad quality of images, according to a senior police officer.

Now, post-Chennai blast on the Bangalore-Guwahati Express train, at least 15 unauthorised entry points to the City Railway Station is a cause of concern. A senior officer of the Government Railway Police (GRP) said it is impossible to provide foolproof security to the Bangalore City Railway Station spread across a radius 2.5 kilometres with over 20 entry and exit points.

Apart from the two authorised main entrance and exit gates, people can walk into the station from various points that are unguarded. “Providing security cover at these points is impossible unless the Railway authorities put up at least a 10 ft. compound wall with barbed wire to prevent unauthorised entry,” he said.

Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF), S. Louis Amuthan said that there was staff shortage, and that they are managing the show by cancelling leaves granted to personnel and seeking reinforcement during emergencies.

The GRP and RPF have been complaining of staff shortage. “There are 10 platforms in the City Railway Station and even if one constable is deputed on each platform, we may need at least 20 personnel for the round-the-clock security,” the official said.

The 20-member GRP staff is not only expected to provide security at the entry and exit points, but also provide security on moving trains. A senior police officer of the GRP said 60 per cent of the posts in the department are vacant and that they have written to the authorities about it.

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