To tackle the persistent problem of male commuters boarding coaches reserved for women on the suburban local railways, the Central Railway (CR) has come up with plans to procure cameras that will store facial details of commuters. The cameras with facial recognition software would help trace past movements of any offender on a local train and arrest the person when he travels next.
At least six such cameras would be installed in each coach of the suburban rakes of the CR by the end of 2018. With 76 cameras to be fitted in each rake, a total of 11,160 cameras would be procured. Women passengers have frequently complained about illegal entry of men commuters in coaches reserved for them during non-peak hours. In the past six months, three cases have been registered wherein women have jumped off trains upon the entry of men in reserved coaches.
Officials of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and the Government Railway Police (GRP) have complained against poor quality of existing cameras at the stations. “If the movement of the accused was not registered in the cameras installed at the stations, nabbing him would become difficult. With better face recognition technology in cameras, arrests would become easier,” said a senior CR official. S K Jain, the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of the CR, said: “We have asked for a certain set of requirements in the cameras to be procured. Face recognition and analytics must remain the key features of these cameras. After the cameras recognise a face, the technology will be able to trace the movement of that commuter in the past 10 days. We plan to catch habitual offenders.”
The total cost to procure the cameras would be Rs 276 crore. Two talk-back units would also be installed in every ladies’ coach by the year-end.
“We also plan to install at least one pair of escalators (upward and downward directions) in each suburban railway station by the end of the year. An additional 52 escalators will be in place by March 31, 2018,” Jain added.
The Mumbai division of the CR will also see an additional 25 foot overbridges this year. “We expect to invite the chief minister to inaugurate certain passenger amenities on January 26,” said an official.
While the foot overbridge developed by the Army at Ambivali station would be commissioned by January 31, the other two at Currey Road and Elphinstone Road stations would be commissioned by February 15. On Thursday, the Army would launch girders of the foot overbridge at Ambivali during a five-hour mega block of train services between Ambivali and Asangaion. Jain said at least 30 special train services and 20 bus services have been arranged to facilitate commute during the block hours.
Meanwhile, toy train services between Neral and Matheran are scheduled to become operational from January 26.