One of the 46 CCTV cameras on trial run at Tatanagar railway station on Wednesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Almost two months have gone by since nearly four dozen closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed to augment security at Tatanagar, but these are yet to become fully operational.
The Chakradharpur RPF, which is the authority to grant permission for the same, is apparently not satisfied with trial runs that have exposed the average quality of the surveillance cameras procured for Rs 1.5 crore to the A-category station safer for passengers.
Sources revealed that ever since the lenses were installed at strategic points, RPF’s Chakradharpur commandant Arun Kumar Chaurasia had time and again monitored them, but the gadgets had failed to live up to his expectations.
“The cameras were expected to clearly cover subjects even at a distance of 30 metres, but here we can barely make out what is just seven metres away,” said an RPF officer.
He added that the CCTV cameras had been installed to check crime on platforms, but the poor quality footage would make it difficult to identify any face. “What is the use of installing such gadgets? The images are not clear enough to give away a criminal.”
After prolonged wait, 46 surveillance cameras had been installed at Tatanagar by Calcutta-based Honeywell Automation Limited in February this year. Representatives of the company had also trained RPF personnel on how to handle the control panel before an inspection conducted by commandant Chaurasia in the first week of March and the latter was supposed to give his nod to make platform scan fully operation by the seventh of last month.
Chaurasia confirmed that the CCTV cameras were still in trial stage. “We are looking into how exactly the security aspect of platforms and passengers can be enhanced with them,” he kept it conveniently vague. “Yes, the system is not fully operational yet. Conducting trials is also a part of the operation,” he added when prodded.
Chaurasia, however, did not categorically mention if the cameras installed at Tatanagar station were of poor quality. He also remained non-committal on when the trial run might end and pave the way for full-fledged surveillance.
Senior officials of Honeywell Automation could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. Manager (sales) in Calcutta S. Alam confirmed that they had installed the CCTV cameras at Tatanagar, but said project manager of Jamshedpur Sanjay Tiwary was away on training.
Another official, however, said that CCTV cameras were supplied to Tatanagar following necessary inspection and verification by Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), a scrutiny wing of the Indian Railways. “When the gadgets are approved by RDSO, authenticity is no longer an issue. We supplied cameras as specified by the South Eastern Railway,” he added.