Mumbai: Help may soon be just a click of a button away for women travelling in ladies compartments on Central Railway (CR). The authorities have decided to equip the coaches reserved for women in all its trains with an emergency button. Other than that, every coach, general or reserved, will soon have a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera to keep watch on crowds, the railway authorities have said.
The security booster comes in the backdrop of the protests demanding women's safety, sparked off by the brutal gang rape and death of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi.
On Saturday, the CR General Manager Subodh Jain announced at a Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee meeting that he would conduct a trial of the surveillance cameras by January 15, and once successfully tested, a rollout of the pilot run in all the CR locals will follow.
"We have been planning these measures for the last three months. We were going to announce them only after the trial was successfully done in January. But we have made the announcement in the wake of the concern following the Delhi gang rape," Jain said,
For the trial, the CR will install one train with 40 cameras. A control room for these CCTVs will be set up at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, initially at the existing control room at CST. Whenever needed, all activities inside the train can be monitored by the control room staff. In case someone makes an emergency call on the railway's helpline number, the staff can view the goings-on inside the bogey the caller is in, and dispatch help at the very next station.
A Danish company Focon is surveying the trains in Mumbai and, in a few months' time, after a successful test run, the locals will be hooked up with the CCTVs. The cameras will be sending live feeds from the coaches. A recording box, which will video-record all the occurrences in the trains, will be placed in the motormen's cabin.
Rajiv Singhal, member of the ZRUCC, said, "If implemented, this idea will be a great help for female passengers and all others in need of help. After the Delhi gang rape, we wanted some assurance from the railway authorities and the Central Railway GM has reassured us with this hi-tech system."
The trial of the special emergency button will follow the camera check. Its standout feature is that once pressed, the details of the train and the coach from where it has been pushed will automatically be displayed in the control room, so help can be provided immediately. The budget and other details will be decided after the trial.
How it will work
CCTVs will be installed in all the coaches of locals on the central line and their footage will be streamed in directly to a control room at CST.
Emergency buttons will be placed in ladies coaches, which once pressed, will relay information about the train and the bogie number directly to the control room.
General compartments will not have emergency buttons. In case of an emergency, the railway helpline number 1275 or 9833331111 is available.