In a bid to ensure safe and secure journey for passengers, the Indian Railways is likely to start the procurement of CCTV cameras from the first week of April this year, sources close to the Ministry of Railways said. The work for installation of the cameras would begin once the procurement process ends.
According to sources, Railways has already finalised its plan to install 5 lakh CCTV cameras covering over 50,000 train coaches and 5,000 stations across the country and has made a provision for generating and pooling funds to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore in this regard. Besides exploring other channels to generate funds needed for the installation of these CCTV cameras, the Railways has asked Ministry of Finance to pool money from the Nirbhaya Fund. The Nirbhaya Fund is a corpus announced by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget. The corpus has been named after the pseudonym given to the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim.
A senior railway ministry official told The Sunday Guardian: “We will soon announce the tender procedure for installation of CCTV cameras. After scrutinising suitable vendors, the department will roll out the plan and dates for installation of the cameras.”
“Procurement of these CCTV cameras will cost around Rs 2,000 crore; therefore, we are in the process of finalising the fund generation process. We have requested the Ministry of Finance to provide funds from the Nirbhaya Fund for the CCTV project,” the same official cited above said.
Besides Nirbhaya Fund, Railways is also examining the possibility of part-funding by private players on an incentive basis.
Railways does not want to depend only on the gross budgetary support of Rs 53,000 crore to fund ambitious projects like installation of Wi-Fi and CCTVs.
The Union Budget presented on 1 February this year proposed installation of CCTV cameras and Wi-Fi at railway premises and approved cameras for 50,000 coaches and 5,000 stations.
According to Railways, it has identified 40,000 coaches of urban and suburban trains, and 10,000 coaches of premier trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi for installation of CCTV cameras. Also, around 5,000 stations will be equipped with CCTV cameras. Currently, there are about 395 stations and about 50 trains that are equipped with CCTV cameras.
Safety and security have been the biggest issue for Railways. There are around 4,943 unmanned level-crossings that need to be changed. Replacement of all old tracks and strengthening of the remaining tracks are also a major challenge for Railways.