As part of its holistic anti-terror measures, the Mumbai Police has decided to reward alert citizens who spot unattended, suspicious objects in the vicinity of Ganesh pandals across the city. The Mumbai Police in association with ICICI Bank will reward the alert citizen with a gold coin.
Devotees at Lalbaugcha Raja. File Pic
This initiative is part of its on-going 'Mumbai Ke Liye 1 Minute' drive, which appeals citizens to take out a minute from their busy schedule to look around if they spot a suspicious person, object or vehicle and call the police. "In this unique initiative, a bag or any other item would be placed by the police itself near a pandal and if the object that remains unattended for a long time and looks suspicious is spotted by any citizen and if he/she brings to the notice of the policemen, he will be rewarded with a gold coin sponsored by the ICICI Bank," Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria told PTI today.
"I have approved the idea and we will start the exercise in a day or two. If a citizen spots a suspicious object, which has not been placed by police at the pandal, then also he will be rewarded with a gold coin," the top cop said. During the exercise, a bag or any other item could be placed near the queue line, entry gate, exit gate, alternative escape routes, at the parking lot or any other place at a randomly picked up pandal, police said.
"The aim of the exercise is to check the alertness of citizens to any unattended suspicious object. And the alert citizen definitely deserves the reward," it added. At least 25,000 posters informing people about the initiative would be pasted all across the city. In theatres also, the exercise would be advertised on the screens. When contacted, Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Dhananjay Kamalakar said the value of the gold coin is yet to be finalised. The drive is similar to the mock drill exercise usually carried out by the police department to check the alertness of its personnel on duty.
During the mock drill, the police would place a bag or any other object and local police are alerted about the suspicious object, which needs to be spotted at the earliest. Police have already advised pandals managements to adopt extra security precautions, including putting up CCTV cameras, metal detectors, and deploy private security guards. Over 6,000 Ganesh pandals have been erected in public places while more than one lakh Ganesh idols are installed in households during the festival, which begins today.
Another police officer said, "With terror threat continuing to loom over the city, specifically during the festival season, this idea will surely yield results." Mumbai Police has already drawn an extensive security plan to maintain a hawk-eyed vigil during the festival. At least 42,000 strong Mumbai Police, contingents of Quick Response Teams, Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, State Reserve Police Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force are already on the streets across the city.