Bandra-Worli Sea Link sees fourth suicide in two weeks
The spate of suicides at the Bandra-Worli Sea Link has the authorities worried. In the last two weeks, four people have ended their lives by jumping off the iconic bridge. Traffic police say the surveillance cameras on the structure are insufficient in number, and even the ones that are there are not working.
Police said 45-year-old Vikram Vasudev had been unable to overcome the sorrow of losing his son to cancer and, hence, killed himself by jumping off the Sea Link. File pic for representation
On Monday, 45-year-old Vikram Girish Vasudev, a Prabhadevi resident, committed suicide by throwing himself off the bridge. Cops said the man reached pole number 16 on the Bandra-facing carriageway around 5.45 am in his WagonR. Security guards saw him halt the car and make his way to the edge.
They called out to him and tried reaching him, but Vasudev had already jumped off by then. He is survived by his wife, who has gone into trauma, and another 14-year-old son studying in Std VIII. Three previous suicides include a 33-year-old’s on August 28, a BMC worker who fought with his wife and ended his life on August 30, and a depressed 65-year-old’s case.
Ramchandra Dhawale, senior police inspector of Bandra police station, where the case has been registered, said, “We haven’t even found his body yet. But, we have registered the case. Several officials, including the fire brigade and local fishermen, are searching for his body.”
According to Inspector Rajendra Kane, Vasudev had been unable to come to terms with the death of his 21-year-old son Jai, who died of cancer three years ago.
Officials said Vasudev had been in a state of shock ever since he lost his son. The deceased, who worked at an engineering college in Kurla, would always mourn his son’s loss. “Every night, he would hold the photo frame of his son and sleep. He was dying a slow death from inside,” added the officer.
On August 22, which was Jai’s birthday, Vasudev was inconsolable. Officials said he had told his wife he couldn’t live in this world without his son and would end his life.
Traffic police officials feel there aren’t enough cameras to keep watch on the premises. There are only six devices, half of which are not in a working condition. Satyanarayan Chaudhury, deputy commissioner of police (zone IX), told mid-day, “I have come to know that there are not enough cameras on the Sea Link. Half of the installed ones are not working. I’ve called an immediate meeting of officials in the matter. We will take necessary action to avoid such incidents in future.”
A Traffic police official, on condition of anonymity, in fact, said that none of the six cameras are working. Officials also blame the low barrier height —4 feet — isn’t enough to curtail such incidents.
The bridge is under the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), and its officials, along with Traffic police and Mumbai police, will meet to tackle the issue. MSRDC is also thinking of deploying guards on motorcycles to patrol the bridge; currently, there are two guards, one on each end.
>> The first suicide on the Sea Link was committed on August 1, 2012, after Lalit Sheth, owner of Raj Travels, killed himself by jumping off the bridge, allegedly due to debt
>> On August 19, 2014, Lalchand Rathore (65), told his driver to stop on the Sea Link saying he wanted to relieve himself, and jumped off. He wrote in his suicide note that he was depressed and had health problems
>> On August 28, a 33-year-old Kandivli resident stopped his Hyundai i-20 and jumped off the bridge
>> On August 30, a BMC employee killed himself in a similar fashion in a fit of rage, after a domestic quarrel with his wife
MSRDC Managing Director Anil Diggikar said, “On Tuesday, we will meet the the police and traffic officials, and discuss how to stop these suicides. We will also discuss whether we can install grills on the retaining wall to prevent such cases.
We will discuss whether to deploy more security guards at entry and exit points.” When questioned about the alleged non-functional cameras, he said, “We have not received any complaint about the same from the Traffic police. I will have to check before commenting anything.”
— Inputs by Ranjeet Jadhav