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Drawn up over year ago, Sassoon security plan still not enforced

Day after Agra blast, doctors at govt hospital demand implementation of security measures proposed after German Bakery attack last year

Even as a blast ripped through a private hospital in Agra, a murder convict in the high-profile Nayana Pujari case escaped from the Sassoon hospital. What's more, doctors at the hospital revealed that the security plan that was envisaged for the biggest government-run hospital in the city after the German Bakery blast has failed to take off. 


Soft target? The Sassoon hospital is yet to get doorframe metal
detectors and baggage scanners. file pic


Doctors at the hospital have now demanded they be better protected, after which top officials at the hospital have convened an urgent meeting today to discuss pending proposals to beef up security. Dr D G Kulkarni, medical superintendent, said that firstly, they needed to get a police chowky with armed guards.

"We are not happy with the current security arrangements.  The meeting is being called in to immediately set in motion certain measures like establishing a police chowky on the premises," he said. When pointed out that the hospital already has a chowky, he said: "There is just one constable there who is unarmed. We need at least three guards and one of them has to be armed. The hospital deals with a multitude of medico-legal cases and going to the Bund Garden police station each time isn't possible."

Two other points will also be discussed at the meeting such as changing the security agency which currently provides guards for the hospital and restrict the number of entry and exit points to the hospital premises.
"The hospital currently has multiple entry and exit points which makes it difficult to scan all visitors. Even if we bring door frame metal detectors or baggage scanners, they would be limited and that's why we have proposed to keep only one gate open for entry and exit. Also, we are not too happy with the performance of the private security guards," said Kulkarni.

A day after the German Bakery blasts in February 2010, the city police had a closed-door meeting with authorities at Sassoon, where they discussed a comprehensive security plan that entailed having metal door frame detectors, CCTV cameras, baggage scanners and designated entry and exit points. Dr Pravin Shengare, joint director, Directorate of Technical Education and Research (DMER), agreed that the proposal for equipment like metal detectors and CCTV cameras to be purchased has been made but the approval for budget was awaited.

In private hospitals
Following the Agra blast, some private hospitals too reviewed their security measures and decided to take corrective measures. Dr Asha Rewlani, medical superintendent, Inlaks Budhrani Hospital, said that the hospital planned to employ more guards. "We have already purchased the equipment but after the audit, we feel there is need for more guards," she said.

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