In an effort to replicate the security measures and facilities that are in place in airports and flights, the Indian Railways is following their practices.
Last week, the national carrier announced that passengers can check the status of the seats while booking their train tickets, just like they can do so while their flight tickets. You can read the story here.
And now, taking a cue from the security measures and timely reporting that is mandatory at airports, passengers will have to report to the station at least 20 minutes before the scheduled departure of the train.
Here are nine things you must know:
1. The reporting time has been set because railway stations may soon start random frisking and stricter security checks.
2. According to a PTI report, the national carrier plans to seal the stations about 20 minutes before the train departs to ensure smooth security checks.
Arun Kumar, the Director General of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) said, “The plan is to seal the railway stations. It is primarily about identifying openings and to determine how many can be closed. There are areas which will be closed through permanent boundary walls, others will be manned by RPF personnel, and yet others will have collapsible gates.”
3. However, despite the increase in security, the number of security personnel will not increase. “If we are investing in technology, then manpower requirement will reduce. These steps are a part of a security plan under the Integrated Security System (ISS) which was approved in 2016 to strengthen surveillance mechanism at 202 railway stations,” Kumar explained.
4. Authorities have identified all metro cities, and state capitals as “sensitive” stations and these are included in the list of 202 stations.
5. These security measures have already been implemented at the Hubli station in Karnataka and Prayagraj (previously Allahabad), where the IR is expecting a large footfall due to the Kumbh Mela starting on January 15.
6. The plan is to have a layered security check that will begin even before the passengers enter the station premises, so it prevents pressure during peak hours.
7. “An automatic vehicle scanner has been recommended for gates from where vehicle enter the station premises. For explosives detection, sniffer dogs and vapour detectors have been recommended,” an RPF official told the Hindustan Times. These will be part of the layered security measures.
8. “At each entry point, there will be random security checks,” Kumar said, adding that “However, unlike at airports, passengers need not come hours in advance, but just 15-20 minutes ahead of their departure times to ensure that they are not delayed because of the security process.”
9. Apart from the 202 sensitive stations, the IR has identified 983 stations that will be brought under CCTV camera cover through the Nirbhaya fund, according to the Director-General.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)