Railways Likely to Reboot Rs 1000-Crore CCTV Tender Amidst Bidder Complaints

Multiple interested parties had raised various issues with the tender process, including the criteria for the qualifying bid.

New Delhi: In a major setback to the Indian Railways’ security plans, the multi-crore tendering process for installing CCTV cameras at stations across the country is likely to be scrapped amid pulls and pressures from various players keen to be part of the Rs 1,000-crore project.

RailTel, the transporter’s telecom arm, had floated the tender in August 2018 for the supply, installation, testing, commissioning, operation and maintenance of 89,845 IP (Internet Protocol)-based video surveillance system (VSS) at 6,124 railway stations.

Eight major players – HFCL, L&T, BECIL, BEL, Mahindra Defence, TCIL, Avrin Pro and KEC International – had emerged as the serious contenders for the job after the closure of the bid on October 30.

However, the race to install CCTV cameras, which will also have facial recognition capabilities to make rail premises secure, got murkier with interested parties raising various issues, including the criteria for qualifying the bid.

According to a December 2018 media report, three of the companies had also alleged there was a conflict of interest in the bidding process as the tendering platform that was used to invite bids was run by TCIL, which was also an active bidder for the project.

If the tender process had gone through, work contracts were expected to be awarded in January 2019 after completing the due diligence, scrutinisation and technical evaluation by December end.

“The CCTV tender has been discharged now as many issues were raised over criteria for selection and other procedures. So now we will float a fresh tender with new terms and conditions,” a senior RailTel official involved with the project told The Wire.

Admitting the development as a “setback” as it will delay the security project further, the official said railways has committed to installing CCTV cameras in all stations to make the premises a secure zone.

These powerful IP cameras will not only record movements at stations, but will also be equipped with facial recognition software, motion detection, quick review and intrusion detection. The recording will be scrutinised round-the-clock by security personnel of the Railway Protection Force and Government Railway Police.

There are more than 50 major stations, including New Delhi which are already equipped with CCTV surveillance systems. The railways is also planning to equip all coaches with CCTV cameras.

The national transporter had earmarked Rs 3,000 crore in its 2018-19 Budget to install CCTV systems across 11,000 trains and 8,000 stations to ensure safety and security on rail premises.

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