That puts in perspective the security scenario at Secunderabad railway station, one of the biggest in the State. Security at the station that comprises acres of open space and ever-crowded platforms, has always been a challenging task.
Authorities woke up from their slumber after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks when two terrorists, including Ajmal Kasab, went on a rampage, firing away at innocents at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Since then, armed guards have been posted at main entry points of the station.
The detonation of low-intensity Improvised Explosive Devices inside the Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai two days ago brought to the fore security systems at all railway stations, including Secunderabad.
“We’re doing our best with the available men and material, but with scores of entry and exit points and a vast area, our efforts are not enough,” says a police officer seeking anonymity.
Unlike law and order police in other parts of the city and the Central Industrial Security Force at the airport, two agencies are assigned the responsibility of security at railway stations – the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police, which work under the Central and State Governments respectively.
Railway police at Secunderabad have a strength of 90 personnel, including constables and sub-inspectors.
“Ensuring security of the station premises is not our only duty; policemen have to be sent on escort duty on different trains originating from the station. This leaves few others for other duties,” says the officer.
Nearly 80 surveillance cameras were installed at the station to record movements of suspects. Video footage recorded in these cameras helps identify culprits only after an attack, like in bank ATM centres, say security experts.
“A command centre to keep tab on suspicious persons and objects by monitoring the video footage is the need of the hour,” they say.