Southern Railway to install CCTV at 93 stations under Nirbhaya Fund

It has floated tenders for providing the facility as part of measures to enhance the safety of passengers, especially women

The Southern Railway will provide Integrated Emergency Response Management System (Video Surveillance System) at 93 stations under the Nirbhaya Fund.

After the Railway Board asked general managers of all Zonal Railways to take a call on the installation of CCTV at railway stations, Southern Railway has floated tenders for providing the facility at these stations as part of measures to enhance passenger safety, particularly women.

In a note issued in February this year, the Railway Board said the VSS project at 983 stations (across the country) under Nirbhaya Fund was entrusted to RailTel for execution in 2016. On the request of East Central Railway, South Eastern Railways, East Coast Railway, and Northeast Frontier Railway, the VSS project was assigned to the respective railways.

As regards providing VSS in the remaining stations under Nirbhaya Fund, the matter came up for discussion during a meeting on Parliamentary Assurance in the Railway Board on January 16, 2021, and it was decided that General Managers of all zones may be advised to take a call whether they wanted to get the work of provision of CCTV executed at zonal-level itself or otherwise.

"If they decide to execute the work at zonal-level and submit a request to Railway Board in this regard, the work of provision of CCTV in the respective zone may be taken away from M/s RailTel and transferred to the concerned zones along with requisite fund," the note said.

While 136 stations were targeted for providing VSS, RailTel made the provision at only 43 stations under the Nirbhaya Fund. Asked if Southern Railway decided to install the CCTV on its own taking away the work from RailTel, Chief Public Relations Officer B. Guganesan said “Yes, at the remaining 93 stations, VSS work is being implemented by the Zonal Railway.”

Apart from the Nirbhaya Fund, VSS work was sanctioned for 441 stations in Southern Railway in a Memorandum of Understanding dated June 25, 2020, and the work was handed over to RailTel by the Railway Board, Mr. Guganesan added.

Clarifying on the issue, RailTel spokesperson said the earlier tender (relating to the installation of Video Surveillance System at 983 stations under the Nirbhaya Fund) had to be “discharged due to the issue of purchase of items from land bordering countries”.

To make the specifications more broad so that fillip to domestic manufacturing could be given, Research Design and Standard Organisation of Indian Railways had revised the specifications. Immediately after revision, RailTel floated 4 tenders in May, 2021, for provision of CCTV at 456 stations under Nirbhaya fund.

CCTV project was being executed by Indian Railways and RailTel and work was completed in 813 major stations while it was in progress at 47 more stations. A total of 756 stations were targeted to be provided with IP-based CCTV by the end of 2021-22.

"Though we also lost a lot of time in 2020 and current year due to COVID-19 pandemic, we still managed to provide CCTV cameras in 54 stations on a war footing for migrant special trains," she said.

A mammoth technology upgradation project like IP-based CCTV required meticulous planning for execution. "While the RailTel team has put their sincere effort in doing the same, some lapses were noticed in 2016 and they were rectified through due diligence."

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