Ladies coaches: CCTV plan still in limbo

The recent rape attempt on a girl in a local train at Mahalaxmi has once again exposed the poor security arrangements by the Railways, indicating that all proposals related to enhance security measures in the ladies coaches are lying in the cold storage.

Amid much fanfare, both the Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) had announced their plans to fit CCTV cameras in ladies compartments. But one year down the line, there has been little progress in the projects.

However, during mid-April this year, the WR had installed four CCTV cameras in the ladies compartment, which was at the Churchgate end of a local. Two cameras were installed facing the ladies coach, and two others were in front of the motorman’s cabin to record the activities of the motormen, trespassing etc. But, the inferior resolution of the cameras and its maintenance and security posed a huge challenge for the railway authorities. Officials from the signalling department were not satisfied with the camera’s quality due to which the trial was stalled.

“Following the failure in fixing CCTV cameras in the locals on the western line, the CR didn’t opt for a trial either,” said Atul Rane, chief public relations officer, CR.

Apart from this, plans to club all five ladies compartments in one row also failed owing to the lack of availability of coaches. In April 2013, Subodh Jain, then general manager of CR, had announced to bunch all women compartments together at the CST-end, initially in the second 15-car local and then gradually in all the locals. But, even this could not be achieved. “Though the plan to bunch the ladies’ compartments was announced, the coaches did not arrive as expected, and therefore, the second 15-car rake has not yet started,” added Mr Rane.

The ladies compartments should mandatorily have GRP and RPF personnel between 10 pm and 6 am. However, commuters claim that they hardly see the presence of these officials.