'We understand grievances, but can't compromise safety'

Security checks sometimes lead to arguments between CISF jawans and commuters

Over 3,500 personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force manage security of 139 Delhi Metro stations which see a daily ridership of 25 lakh people.

The force also has to frisk every passenger who enters the network. With limited resources and lack of staff, the force says it becomes a massive challenge to manage crowds on festivals.   And at times there are arguments between passengers and the security staff over frisking and scanning of their baggage.

A common complaint of the passengers is that the CISF don’t operate enough gates to frisk passengers, which leads to long queues, sometimes all the way up to the main gates of the station.

Anirudh Sharma, a marketing executive working in the city, reckons that at times the force doesn’t do its work efficiently and simply ignores the build up of crowds at the security gates, even during the rush hour.

“I travel from Connaught Place to Gurgaon daily and have noticed that only a limited staff is deployed at the gates, while a majority of them are roaming around near the gates. They only operate extra gates after repeated complaints from the passengers,” he says.
Divya Singh, a Delhi University student, says the CISF must also operate multiple frisking gates for women at specific stations. “Vishwavidyala Metro station is among the few stations where I have seen overcrowding at the frisking gates for women. When the CISF can operate multiple gates for men according to the rush, why can’t they provide similar facilities for women,” she asks.     

A CISF constable counters this, claiming that they simply don't have enough staff. “With the staff that we have, we deal with law and order issues in addition to managing the metal detectors, X-ray baggage inspection systems and dog squads. Overcrowding and technical glitches sometimes force us to stop entry into the station. In these situations, we expect the commuters to be patient and cooperate despite the discomfort,” says constable Ram Kumar, posted at Jhandewalan station.

Another constable says that despite the crowds, they cannot afford to take frisking and baggage scanning lightly as the network is always under threat of terror attacks. “We understand the grievances of the commuters, but security at the stations can’t be compromised to avoid overcrowding,” says Narendra Yadav, posted at Huda City Centre station.

“Every constable on the gate frisks hundreds of people in just an hour. Only we can know how much work we put in every day to keep the Delhi Metro safe,” he says.
 And CISF spokesperson Hemendra Singh says, “We have a polite request to the passengers. We want them secure and if they too want to travel without any difficulty, they should keep some time for security checks.”

“You will have to see the crowd at stations during morning and evening hours. There is a lot of rush and there is a lot of pressure. Despite the best equipment with our personnel, they are not able to utilise it to the fullest. We need the help of the commuters to provide better quality of services,” he adds.

Soon, the force is expected to get 3,000 more men and women for securing the 92 new stations that will come up in the phase-3 expansion of the Metro.

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