The railways have installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at 686 stations across the country, Union minister Piyush Goyal informed Parliament on Wednesday, March 24. The minister informed that less than 10 per cent of the 7,349 railway stations in India are equipped with such coverage, reported Business Standard.
Of the 686 stations, 156 are in Maharashtra, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 69 stations, West Bengal with 67 stations and Bihar 47 stations, the minister said.
Replying to a query in the Lok Sabha, Goyal said that digital monitoring through CCTV cameras is available at passenger reservation centre as well as other areas of major railway stations.
"If any unlawful/suspicious activity is observed, immediate action is taken. Presently, the prevention of entry of persons is not done by using CCTV monitoring. However, surveillance on persons indulging in suspicious/objectionable activities is maintained and intervention is made as and when the need arises," he said.
While Rajasthan has CCTV cameras at 31 stations, Tamil Nadu has the facility at 35 stations. Northeastern states, except Tripura and Nagaland, which have one station each with cameras, and Puducherry have no stations with CCTV cameras, he said.
While Karnataka has CCTV cameras at 30 stations, 21 stations in Kerala have that facility and 29 stations in Madhya Pradesh have such cameras.
Jammu and Kashmir have such cameras at 19 stations, Odisha 16, Haryana 13 and Jharkhand 11. Delhi has such cameras at 13 stations, Chhattisgarh 13 and Gujarat at 30 stations.
Recently, the Ministry of Railways has issued guidelines to prevent crimes against women inside trains and on railway premises. The ministry, in an order released on March 20, listed out measures such as surveillance and sensitisation to prevent these incidents.
The ministry said that proper lighting arrangements should be ensured at all vulnerable places. Abandoned structures should be demolished after consulting with the engineering department, it said.
"Waiting rooms should not remain unattended and persons should be allowed to enter the waiting rooms after proper entry, particularly at nights and at times when there is the minimum presence of passengers," the guidelines read. "It should be cross-checked by the duty officer at odd hours."
The ministry also asked officials to stop the entry of unauthorised persons in yards where coaches are stationed.
"Unwanted /unauthorised persons in the railway premises should be rounded [up] and prosecuted and railway station, yards & trains should be kept free from unwanted unsocial elements," it said.
CCTV feeds must be monitored, the ministry said, adding: "The position of women's coaches should be fixed at the platform and CCTV camera to be specially installed on the platform at that point so as to provide adequate coverage of these coaches."
The ministry also said that a database on sexual offenders living in an area should be maintained to keep surveillance on them.