Railway Board puts Rs 3,000 crore CCTV project on the back burner

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The board has approved the installation of CCTVs on five trains on a trial basis.

NEW DELHI: The Railway Board has put a proposal by the Prime Minister’s Office to install CCTVs at all stations and in train coaches on the slow track as it figures out how to fund the Rs 3,000-crore project that will require about half a million cameras to be set up.

During a review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March, the rail board was told to place cameras at all stations and in the coaches of all 11,000 trains for enhanced passenger safety and crowd management. A tender was to have been issued in March by RailTel Corporation, which owns an optic fibre network along the nation’s railway tracks.



However, the board has excluded CCTVs from the list of safety items and has clubbed them with security aids and this re-categorisation could delay implementation of the project. “For safety items, the funds are made available without any delay, whereas security aid items are not given as high a priority,” a government official said.

“Board felt that CCTVs are a security aid and not an item of safety for train operations. Hence, pragmatism is required while making investment,” according to the minutes of a July 11 board meeting chaired by Ashwani Lohani.

The board has approved the installation of CCTVs on five trains on a trial basis.

“The project, which was to be earlier implemented through RailTel, has now been split with the mechanical department of railways. The project implementation timeline and the funds for the same are yet to be decided,” the official added.



The Railway Board did not respond to emailed queries on the matter sent by ET.

Giving top priority to safety and reduction of crimes at rail premises and on trains, the government had approved installation of CCTV systems in 58,276 coaches and 5,121 stations on the Indian rail network in 2018-19.

However, the railways received Rs 500 crore from the Nirbhaya Fund and has had to raise Rs2,500 crore on its own.



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