Why Indian Railways is installing facial recognition technology at its railway stations

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) wants to identify criminals who may be roaming the railway stations by linking the facial recognition system with the existing databases like the Crime as well as Criminal Tracking Network and systems.

Indian Railways takes big step to enhance security! Bengaluru, Manmad and Bhusawal railway stations have been provided with facial recognition technology backed by artificial intelligence. This has been done to identify and nab criminals. According to a PTI report, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) wants to identify criminals who may be roaming at railway stations by linking the facial recognition system with the existing databases such as Criminal Tracking Network and systems. Therefore, the RPF command centre will be alerted by the real-time face recognition software of any known offenders. Once the testing of the facial recognition system is done, the technology will be implemented across the Indian Railways network.

According to a statement issued by the national transporter, the Railway Board has also given its nod for carrying out works for video surveillance system (VSS) covering as many as 983 railway stations under Nirbhaya funds. A mini ratna PSU under the Railway Ministry, RailTel has been entrusted with the work of providing IP-based VSS with video analytics as well as facial recognition system. An amount of Rs 250 crore was allotted to the national transporter this year from the Nirbhaya fund for the installation of VSS.

In order to have a clearer image and better coverage, four types of full-HD cameras- bullet type for platforms, dome type for indoor areas, ultra HD-4k cameras for crucial locations and pan tilt zoom type for parking areas are being provided. For monitoring, live streaming from CCTVs would be displayed on multiple screens at the RPF control room. Each HD camera consumes around 1TB data, while 4k camera consumes 4 TB data per month. The video footages will be stored for a duration of 30 days for post-event analysis, playback, as well as for investigation purposes. However, important videos can be stored for a longer period.

Under phase one of the project, VSS is being installed at 200 railway stations and so far, work has been completed at 81 railway stations. Recently, the South Western Railway zone has commissioned VSS at six major railway stations- Ballari, Vasco-Da Gama, Belagavi, Bengaluru Cantonment, Shivamogga Town, Bangarpet, Hassan and Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam. Moreover, the integrated security systems comprising CCTV cameras have been installed at 11 railway stations including Bengaluru, Mysuru and Yesvantpur. With this, the South Western Railway has functional CCTV cameras at as many as 17 locations. The zone will complete the work in phase one by having CCTV cameras functional at 20 railway stations in total by the end of this month.

These cameras can be monitored by security personnel from station control rooms and also from central security control rooms located at divisional headquarters situated in Mysuru, Bengaluru and Hubballi. Meanwhile, the VSS has also been installed at 10 Western Railway stations namely Bhavnagar Terminus, Veraval, Nagda, Viragam, Udhna, Valsad, Rajkot, Navsari, Vapi, Gandhidham stations.

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