The Indian Railways has started deploying drones for better security and surveillance of its assets including station premises, track sections, yards and workshops.
"Mumbai Division of Central Railway in Indian Railways has recently procured two Ninja UAVs for better security and surveillance in Railway areas like station premises, Railway track sections, yards, workshops, etc," the Ministry of Railways said in a statement on Tuesday (18 August).
A team of four staff of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Mumbai has been trained for drone flying, surveillance and maintenance. These drones are capable of real time tracking, video streaming and may be operated on Automatic Fail Safe mode, the ministry said.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) has planned extensive use of drones for the purpose of Railway security.
Nine drones have been procured by RPF so far at a cost of Rs. 31.87 Lakhs at South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Raebareli and South Western Railway.
It is further proposed to procure seventeen more drones in future at a cost of Rs. 97.52 Lakhs.
So far, nineteen RPF personnel have been trained in operation and maintenance of drones, out of which four have received licenses for flying drones. Six more RPF personnel are being trained, the ministry said.
The ministry said that the purpose of the drone deployment is to provide a force multiplier and aid to the effectiveness of the security personnel deployed.
The drones can help in inspection of Railway assets and safety of yards, workshops, car sheds etc.
Further, they can be used to launch surveillance on criminal and anti-social activities like gambling, throwing of garbage, hawking etc in Railway premises.
The drones can also be deployed for collection of data, analysis of which may prove to be extremely useful in vulnerable sections for safe operations of trains.
The technology can also be pressed in service at disaster sites for helping in rescue, recovery and restoration and coordinating of efforts of various agencies, the ministry said.
"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," it said.
Drones were used to enforce lockdown and monitor the movement of migrants during the COVID-19 lockdown, it added.
A drone camera can cover large area which requires 8-10 RPF personnel. Thus, it may lead to substantial improvement in utilization of scarce manpower.
Drone beats have been designed based on railway asset, sensitivity of area, activity of criminals etc. Any suspicious activity if noticed is intimated to the nearest RPF post of division to apprehend the criminal live.
One such criminal was apprehended on a real time basis in Wadibunder Yard area while he was trying to commit theft inside railway coach stationed in the yard, the ministry said in the statement.
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