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Delhi cops had warned railways of security lapses
February 22, 2007 21:56 IST
The attack on Samjhauta Express could have been averted as it has come to light that the Delhi police had pinpointed specific lapses in security at the Old Delhi Railway station as early as July last year.
The Delhi police had at a meeting with senior railway officials on July 14, 2006, three days after the bomb blasts on suburban trains in Mumbai, warned that the security at New Delhi, Old Delhi, Nizamuddin and Sarai Rohilla stations was not up to the mark.
They had suggested several meaures like installation of CCTVs, explosive vapour detectors, baggage scanning x-ray machines, hand held and door frame metal detectors to beef up security, but many of the suggestions seem to have gone unheeded as exposed by the trans-border train blasts.
Police had asked the railways to have the perimeter on both sides of all the four stations fenced with barbed wires to check intruders, and raised the need for putting in place adequate lighting arrangements besides introducing ticket checking at the entry and exit points within a week.
The police officials had advised the railways to procure 20 explosive vapour detectors, 78 hand held and door frame metal detectors, 28 baggage scanning x-day machines, 18 dragon lights, 16 inverted trolley mirrors, five bomb jammers among other equipment, sources said.
One bomb disposal squad and 12 sniffer dogs were also sought to tighten the security arrangements, but till date majority of the suggestions have not been implemented.
Other suggestions included regulating of auto and taxi parking at stations, especially Old Delhi, using computerised ticketing machines as it had come to the notice that outsiders like nearby shopkeepers were using the facility, thus compromising on the security.
Entry of unauthorised personnel into railway stations seemed to have weighed heavily on the mind of the Delhi police as it had also asked the railways to issue photo identity cards to all railway employees besides porters, vendors and contract labourers.
However, senior police officials claimed that the railways showed no interest in procuring the gadgets and it has now proved costly.
Local police has now "no powers" to take action against "intruders" unless it receives a complaint from the Railway Protection Force, which has been made the sole authority for security at stations after the amendment to Railway Protection Act in 2004.
"We have no powers now because the offenders are to be booked by officers of or above the rank of ASI of RPF. After every such incident, we are asked to look into loopholes in security, but our suggestions are not taken seriously," a senior police official said.