Arun Kumar Das
In its endeavour to provide a safe and secure travel experience to passengers, India Railways is pitching for the procurement of about 12 lakh CCTV cameras to ensure state-of-the-art surveillance systems in all trains and stations across the country.
The Railways will make a provision of around Rs 3,000 crore in its budget for 2018-19 to install CCTV systems in all 11,000 trains -- including premier and suburban services -- and all the 8,500 stations in the Indian rail network, to provide safety and security at rail premises.
As per the plan, while each coach will have eight CCTV cameras covering the entry gates, aisle and vestibules, all crucial points at stations will have the systems.
Currently, there are about 395 stations and about 50 trains that are equipped with CCTV systems.
"All mail/express and premier trains, including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and local passenger services, will be equipped with the modern surveillance systems in the next two years," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Railways is exploring various options to fund the installation of the CCTV surveillance systems -- and may even raise resources from the market if needed.
Given the increased number of derailments last year, the Rail Budget this time is slated to give top priority to safety and prevention of accidents -- followed by improving passenger amenities to make the journey pleasant.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would roll out the details of provision for strengthening safety mechanism in train operations in his Budget 2018-19.
Elimination of 4,943 unmanned level-crossings, replacement of all old tracks and strengthening of the remaining tracks are among other safety-related proposals that will be highlighted in the budget.
Besides track defects, unmanned level-crossings are among the reasons for the maximum number of train accidents.
It has been decided to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by 2020, the official said.
(Arun Kumar Das is a senior Delhi-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at email@example.com)