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India’s RailTel plans facial recognition deployment at over 6K stations

Expected to surpass 750 stations by January
India’s RailTel plans facial recognition deployment at over 6K stations

India’s railways operator has unveiled a massive planned expansion of facial recognition camera systems across the country, eventually expected to reach 6,049 stations.

RailTel announced that the ‘Video Surveillance System,’ sometimes styled ‘VSS,’ will be deployed to some 14,000 coaches, in addition to stations. It will trigger an alert when people on a criminal watchlist enter the station, RailTel says.

The VSS has already been implemented at 269 stations under Phase 1 of the plan, with deployment expected at 645 more by the end of the 2021-2022 budgetary year.

The network of facial recognition-enabled cameras will feed centralized monitoring centers at each of RailTel’s divisional headquarters across India.

In a separate announcement RailTel says VSS with facial recognition will reach 756 stations by January, 2023.

Dome, bullet, pan-tilt-zoom and ultra HD-4k cameras will be deployed, and video footage from the CCTV system will be stored for 30 days, according to RailTel.

The analytics software also includes alerts for intrusion detection, camera tampering, and loitering, as well as human and vehicle detection and searches based on attributes.

No technology provider is mentioned in the announcements or media reports.

NtechLab was contracted by Indian Railways to deploy facial recognition at 30 train stations in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra last year.

Biometric Update has reached out to NtechLab to inquire about any possible involvement in the new deployment, but has not received a response as of publication.

RailTel previously cancelled a contract with a Chinese technology provider, following border skirmishes between the two countries. RailTel was already up to four attempts to tender the facial recognition technology as of 2019.

OpenGov Asia notes that CCTV surveillance cameras are also being widely deployed on buses in Tamil Nadu, and video feeds are also being used for railway track safety.

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