One of the country’s most ambitious security projects- to get the sprawling Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus and seven other railway stations with a security cover that is an exact replica of Parliament House- has run into rough weather. CST was among the places targeted by the terrorists during the 26/11 attacks killing at least 56 people and injuring 98.
The Rs 23.53 crore project- called the Integrated Security System- was supposed to start on May 13 this year and end on February 13, 2013, but as of today, no work has started. On Thursday marathon talks between the firm that won the tender- Navi Mumbai-based Nelco, a Tata group company- and some other firms and officials of Central Railway’s Signal and Telecom department failed to break the impasse.
While top officials of CR refused to come on record citing clauses in the tender, they admitted that there were disagreement in prices of some of the equipment that Nelco would have to bring in as part of the ISS project.
Among the equipment is the Command and Control system- the nerve centre of the project- which will integrate all the equipment- CCTV grids, baggage scanners, under-vehicle scanner, metal detectors- onto one common platform to be controlled from command centres to be set up at CST and the other seven stations.
“It is very unfortunate. This project was supposed to be the blueprint for railway security for the future nationwide. By laying down specifications that are a replica of the security umbrella of Parliament house, the railway ministry had set a superb benchmark. The failure of this project would set back railway security tremendously,” said a senior CR official.
CR officials said that several more rounds of talks are expected over the next week before the all-important Letter of Agreement- the one that signals the start of the project on the ground- can be signed.