In a bid to improve the safety of women in local trains, railway authorities are now planning to expand the installation of CCTV cameras in Chennai suburban network.
On a trial basis railway authorities had installed cameras in only one train. However, there are plans to fix cameras in more trains in the next few months.
In April, closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) were fitted in two ladies compartment of a 9-car EMU train. It was done with the intention to boost the safety of woman, reported the New Indian Express. Four cameras were fixed per coach at a cost of Rs 35,000. The train is operated on Chennai-Avadi and Chennai-Gummidipoondi stretches.
A senior divisional railway officer told NIE, “The initial response has been as expected. It has served to deter anti-social elements. But before rolling out the facility to all trains, there is a need for a detailed evaluation.”
However, the CCTV system they have right now will only help in post-incident investigation. The railways do not have live transmission of the feed to a control room. Monitoring of live feed can prevent untoward incidents in real-time.
Harassment of women in suburban trains has been a long-reported issue. It is not uncommon to hear of men getting on to the ladies compartment, harassing women, and even snatching their chains.
The Swathi murder case comes to mind where, back in 2016, Infosys techie Swathi was murdered in broad daylight at Nungambakkam railway station by a jilted lover. The incident was captured on camera and the accused tracked down.
Many have complained that the cameras in the platforms do not work and in several places there are no cameras installed.
Last year it was reported that out of 150 cameras Chennai Central station had only a little more than half of them and the situation was similar in other stations as well.