MiD DAY surveys important locations, discovers it's a sorry state of affairs as far as security measures go
Blasts rocked the Delhi High Court yesterday, once again giving rise to concerns over security across the nation.
MiD DAY decided to do a random survey of some important locations in the city and found that security was a joke indeed.
From napping security guards to disinterested police officials and non-existent metal detectors, Puneites indeed put their life on the line while stepping out of homes daily.
Here is what we saw.
Delhi was hit by yet another bomb blast but back in the city it was like any other day. MiD DAY visited Vaishali and Roopali restaurants, the two most popular joints on Fergusson Road.
Reaching Vaishali around 4.45 pm, MiD DAY found that the parking area in front of the restaurant had turned into a no-parking zone. In spite of that, a couple of four-wheelers were parked in the front.
Cars parked in no-parking zone before a popular restaurant
The restaurants were quite crowded as usual. There was a security camera at the entrance while the manager and waiters were alert and watching the tables. At Roopali restaurant, despite the crowd, the waiters were alert.
Dayanand Shetty, manager, Vaishali said: "We have eight CCTV cameras at Vaishali and seven CCTV cameras at Roopali.
There are three security guards at both the places. As each waiter handles three tables, they are pretty alert and if they see any bag or object lying unattended they immediately inform the management."
Asked how four-wheelers were parked in spite of the no-parking zone, Shetty pointed out that people sit inside the car while parking so that no one objects.
PMC main building
When MiD Day visited the PMC office, it was found that the CCTV system was working but the surveillance room was locked.
The chief security officer said that one person sits there during the day and if he is not around, the cameras go unmonitored.
Sources said the camera has a total of seven days of recording but nobody knows how to check it systematically. The metal detectors were working.
MiD DAY went to the SGS mall on MG Road to check on the current security level there and came back highly impressed. Security guards at the entrance frisked people with handheld metal detectors and also checked bags.
They also asked us about the contents of a plastic bag kept inside the handbag.
Walking through the Door Frame Metal detectors (DFM) next to the frisking booth, we heard a low beep. Browsing through the mall, we saw a security guard stationed at the ground level near the escalator.
SGS mall scored high on security as guards frisked
people and there were metal detectors
S C Sawhney, GM, SGS Mall, stated that the mall is under the surveillance of 64 CCTV cameras and the security has not been taken lightly.
"We have designated professional security personnel at the entrance, inside area and exit of the mall.
Every vehicle, be it a two-wheeler or four-wheeler, coming inside the mall is thoroughly checked and we also request people seated inside the car to step out for security checking."
If anyone wanted to enter the hospital with arms, it seemed like an open invitation. The hospital lacked any kind of security equipment from baggage belts to X-ray scanners or metal detectors.
Worse, if anything happens, there is no way to get the suspects as we did not notice any CCTV cameras at the entrances.
The saving grace was that security guards and policemen were present at both the entrances and even within the hospital.
Despite repeated attempts, both medical superintendent Dr D G Kulkarni and dean Dr Ajay Chandanwale refused to take calls or reply to messages asking for details of security.
There is no security at the Collector's office in the entire entrance area except a security person and one who looks after the parking arrangement in the complex.
Seema Holkar, security officer, admitted that security arrangements were threadbare and did not seem concerned about it as she coolly replied that no plans had been made to enhance security as well.
The Swargate bus depot is the premier bus transport facility in the city with thousands of commuters transiting everyday. The platforms from where the Volvo buses to Mumbai leave are the most sensitive but still lack basic security measures like CCTV cameras.
The proposal for CCTV cameras is still pending with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) since last year.
There were heavily armed QRT commandos
at Swargate depot, but no CCTVs
A few months ago, the depot received handheld and doorframe metal detectors costing about Rs 15 crore, after a long wait of a year.
The trunks of the Volvo buses usually remain open where passengers can load and unload their luggage but lack security supervision. The other two depots at Shivajinagar and Pune station too lack security equipment.
Usually, there are no MSRTC or other security personnel keeping a watch on passenger movement or checking luggage, but yesterday heavily armed commandos of the Quick Response Team were patrolling the platforms and keeping an eye on passenger movements.
Three to four commandos were deployed in light of the Delhi blasts.