The Mumbai Division of Central Railway in the Indian Railways has procured two Ninja UAVs for better security and surveillance in railway areas like station premises, railway track sections, yards, workshops, etc.
A team of four Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel 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.
RPF has planned extensive use of drones for railway security. Already 9 drones have been procured by RPF at a cost of Rs 3.18 million at South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Raebareli and South Western Railway.
It is further proposed to procure 17 more drones in the future for Rs 9.75 million. A total of 19 RPF personnel have so far 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.
Drones to Act as Force Multiplier
The purpose of the drone deployment is to provide a force multiplier and aid in the effectiveness of the security personnel deployed. It can help in the inspection of railway assets and safety of yards, workshops, car sheds, etc. It can be used to launch surveillance on criminal and anti-social activities like gambling, throwing of garbage, hawking, etc, in Railways’ premises. It may also be deployed for data collection. Analysis of the data thus collected may prove to be extremely useful in vulnerable sections for the safe operation of train services.
The drone may be pressed in 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 assets 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.
A drone camera can cover a large area which would otherwise require the deployment of 8-10 RPF personnel. Thus, it may lead to substantial improvement in utilisation of scarce manpower. Drone beats have been designed based on railway assets, the sensitivity of the area, the activity of criminals, etc. The drone acts as an eye in the sky to monitor the whole area. Any suspicious activity if noticed is intimated to the nearest RPF post of division to apprehend the criminal. One such criminal was apprehended on a real-time basis in the Wadibunder Yard area while he was trying to commit theft inside a railway coach.