PUNE: The Wednesday evenings firing at the Pune Junction station exposed the security chinks at the facility having a footfall of close to 2.5 lakh passengers daily, compelling senior officials of the Railway Protection Force to admit that there were loopholes in safety measures. Only one scanner is available at the main entrance of the Pune station and there are close to 30 access points to the station.
It (firing) is a serious matter but we should appreciate the police personnel, who have nabbed the culprits, said D Vikas, the division security commissioner of the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Pune division. The RPF officials claimed that a comprehensive security plan for the station would be finalized within a month. It would be implemented depending on the availability of funds.
There is just one baggage scanning machine and a doorframe metal detector at the main entrance of the station, having six platforms. Around a year ago, the authorities had spoken about installing more scanners at other places apart from an under vehicle scanning system (UVSS) in front of the main entrance. But there has been no progress on this front.
The plan to install a UVSS at the second entry to the station along the Raja Bahadur Mills Road has not materialized yet. How can just one scanner ensure that the station is free from gun-wielding criminals? Railway stations, bus stands and airports are always under security threat.
Who would have been responsible had common people been injured in the shootout? How can somebody enter the station with a firearm? Amogh Kakde, a daily passenger, said.
Harsha Shah, the president of the Railway Pravasi Group, said, How can the rail authorities be so casual about the whole incident? This is nothing but a serious security lapse. The senior officials of the Pune rail division must take the responsibility.
When contacted, the authorities of the Pune railway division said they did not have much information about the firing as it was a police matter. A source in the RPF said a meeting on improving the security at the Pune station was held just a fortnight ago. The plan should be finalized within a month.
It involves increasing scanners, plugging illegal access points and setting up watch towers at different points among others, an RPF official said.
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