Indian Railway increases scope and tries again with tender for facial recognition network

The Indian Railway’s telecom arm RailTel has re-floated a tender for a CCTV network with biometric facial recognition after the previous attempt was killed in February amid allegations of conflict of interest and problems with the tender procedure, India’s The Wire reports. The new tender is the fourth attempt to contract the project.

A tender process for the Rs 10 billion (US$137.7 million) contract was launched last year, and brought bids from eight major companies to equip rail stations and coaches with the cameras, but others left out of the project applied pressure, and the third attempt was cancelled.

The new tender has a wider scope, and a total price tag estimated closer to Rs 15 billion ($210 million), a senior RailTel official told The Wire. The bidding document has been amended t make the process more competitive, with broader qualifying criteria.

“Since the basket is a larger one this time, we are expecting more players to join the race. After due diligence, scrutiny and technical evaluation, contracts will be awarded,” the official says.

IP cameras featuring facial recognition, motion detection, quick review and intrusion detection capabilities. They will record footage, and also be monitored by security personnel from the Railway Protection Force and Government Railway Police. More than 50 rail stations already have CCTV surveillance systems, and RailTel has budgeted Rs 3 billion ($43 million) to extend CCTV coverage to 11,000 trains and 8,000 stations during the current fiscal year.

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