Safety must be high up on the radar

On May 28, this paper published a front-page story on how the unrestricted view of the airport from the newly inaugurated Milan Road Over Bridge (ROB) poses a grave security risk. Of course, it became the latest tourist attraction because of the view it rendered. It drew scores of curious visitors who flocked to the bridge, parked their vehicles and clicked pictures of the airport with impunity.

Now, nearly one month later, authorities have taken a serious note about the report. Police officials had visited the location, post-report and asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to install view cutters on the bridge to keep curious onlookers at bay.

This development smacks of the familiar, waking-up-late-to-smell-the-coffee. First of all, this should have been thought of before the Milan ROB was opened to the public. The fact that those who were making the bridge failed to see such a glaring lapse during the construction phase points to the myopic approach taken by our civic authorities. Had they taken a holistic view of the bridge, the environment and its surroundings, view cutters could have been installed just after completion.

In times when public infrastructure is constantly on the radar, it is important that the security aspect be given top priority. With terrorist attacks getting more audacious in order to grab global eyeballs, and aircraft and airports targeted frequently, such fundamental risks need to be factored in at an early stage.

Whether it is constructing a shed over an escalator or making a public utility less prone to security lapses, the look-before- you-leap or think-before-you- throw-open strategy should be adopted.

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