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New Delhi, August 20, 2020
Indian Railways have introduced a drone-based surveillance system for railway security as a force multiplier and to enhance the effectiveness of the security personnel deployed.
Mumbai Division of Central Railway has recently procured two Ninja UAVs for security and surveillance in railway areas including the station premises, railway track sections, yards and workshops.
A team of four staff of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Mumbai underwent training in drone flying, surveillance and maintenance. These drones are capable of real-time tracking, video streaming and can be operated on Automatic Fail Safe Mode, an official press release said.
The RPF has planned extensive use of drones for railway security. Nine drones have been procured by RPF so far at Rs 31.87 lakh by South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Raebareli and South Western Railway.
An additional 17 drones will be procured in future at a cost of Rs 97.52 lakh. So far, 19 RPF personnel have received training in operation and maintenance of drones out of which four got licenses for flying drones. Six more RPF personnel were undergoing training, the release said.
The drones could also be used for surveillance on criminal and anti-social activities like gambling, throwing of garbage, hawking etc in railway premises. It is also useful for data collection. Analysis of such data collected may prove to be extremely useful in vulnerable sections for safe operations of trains, it said.
The drone may be pressed into service at disaster sites for helping in rescue, recovery and restoration and coordinating of efforts of various agencies. It is very useful while undertaking mapping of railway asset to assess the encroachments on railway property.
During large-scale crowd management efforts, it may give vital inputs like crowd magnitude, probable time of arrival and dispersal based on which crowd regulation efforts may be planned and executed. Drones were used to enforce lockdown and monitor the movement of migrants during the COVID-19 lockdown.
A drone camera can cover a large area which requires 8-10 RPF personnel. Thus, it may lead to substantial improvement in the utilization of scarce manpower. Drone beats have been designed based on railway asset, the sensitivity of the area, the activity of criminals etc. Drone acts as an “eye in the sky” and monitors the whole area. Any suspicious activity if noticed is intimated to the nearest RPF post. One criminal was apprehended in Wadibunder Yard area while he was trying to commit theft inside railway coach stationed in the yard, the release added.