Central Railway will soon launch a biometric system for unreserved passengers on long-distance trains that originate from Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in Kurla, Mumbai. Biometrics will include physiological traits like fingerprint and eye’s Iris. This will help the central railways streamline the seating arrangement in the unreserved compartments and not only this, it will also prevent robbery or any other kind of misbehavioural activities in the train by identifying the wrongdoers, said the officials.
“We will soon invite tenders for the biometric system after which it will be formally implemented at LTT and CSMT,” said a Central Railway (CR) official.
Divisional railway manager S K Jain said, “the railways are planning to buy four machines—two each at CSMT and LTT—for around Rs 5.4 lakh.”
Under this new system, the unreserved passenger will have to submit his biometric a day before commencing the journey for a long-distance train, following which he will be given a token as a ticket to the train.
“Based on the token number, the passenger will be incorporated in a queue for a seat. The passenger’s biometrics will be authenticated when he boards the train the next day,” said the CR official. “The biometrics database will be retained for two months after which it will be deleted.” added the CR official.
Ajanta News spoke to the Senior Public Relations Officer, Dr. AK Singh, about the new biometric scheme and has taken detailed information from him.
The new scheme is for the passengers who travel in general coaches only, “The system would be implemented for the general bogie passengers only,” said Dr AK Singh.
The primary aim of this new system is the safety and security of the passengers as the personal details like names and phone numbers of the passengers travelling in a general ticket are not recorded by the railways. “There have been cases of passengers being drugged and robbed. If we start using biometrics, it will be easier for us to trace robbers,” said an officer. “Also, in case of any terror-related activity, the suspects can be traced. We can trace the accused using the biometrics data and CCTV footage of the boarding queue.” said the official.
Upon asking about the primary aim of the new biometric system to Dr. AK Singh, he said, “If you’ve seen, in the general coaches of the trains, sometimes the crowd of the passengers boarding the train is so much that it leads to stampede where people start pushing each other or even beat each other so in the presence to this system (biometric scheme), everything will be managed smoothly. Passengers can easily, can board the train and sit comfortably, avoiding any kind of these situations (stampede, pushing, beating etc.).”
The passengers who are travelling for more than 4 hours would only be eligible for the token system, said Dr Singh. “The system is for the long distance trains where there are night journeys where passengers have to travel 22 to 24 hours. I need to check about the minimum distance, actually the scheme is also new for us and it is in it’s initial stages right now. The minimum distance will be, however, more than the distance covered by the intercity trains, which travel for 3 to 4 hours. So the ones who are, probably, travelling for more than 4 hours will have to take the token, a day before the journey,” said Dr. AK Singh, in a speculation.
The percentage of the criminal activities on the train will, however, decrease to an extent due to this new scheme as the criminals would avoid entering the trains fearing of showing the ID cards. “In such kind of arrangements, where the passengers have to show their Identity cards, such kind of people do not generally tend to enter the train,” says Dr. Singh.
According to Dr. AK Singh, there won’t be any separate fine structure for this new scheme. The penalty to be paid is Rs. 250 at present which is according to the policy guidelines of the Indian Railways. It will, however, remain the same. The passengers travelling without token will have to pay the same amount in the form of penalty that is Rs. 250 plus the ticket fare.”
He also said that it generally takes 2 to 3 months for the tender process. At the initial stages, the scheme will be implemented in few trains and if the railways get good response then it will be implemented in other trains too. However, Dr. Singh repeatedly said that as it’s in the very initial stage, some of the information he has shared is on the basis of speculations and the confirmed report can be shared in couple of months.