Six months more before sea link gets bomb scanner
The Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) will have to go without a scanner for detecting explosives for six more months, as installation of the security equipment at the Bandra end has been delayed further. The MSRDC, which constructed the 5.6-km-long bridge, had earlier said the installation would be done during this May-June.
Currently, there are CCTV cameras at various spots above and below the bridge’s road to keep vigil on and around the iconic structure built at a cost of Rs 1,648 crore. A senior Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) official said, “It is true that we were to complete the installation work of an explosives scanner at the Bandra end of the sea link by May-June. But due to some technical reasons it will take at least six more months.” The scanner will identify explosives, bombs and weapons.
At the end of last year, MSRDC had said in order to secure the sea link, it would install an explosives scanner worth Rs 24.52 crore at Bandra end by May or June in 2013. Earlier, in May 2011, a scanner manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (BHEL) was installed at the bridge on a trial basis. It had the capacity to check the entire vehicle while occupants remained seated inside.
But since Indian laws do not permit sending humans through such scanners on health grounds, motorists were made to get off before getting on to the bridge while their vehicles were scanned. The process turned out to be consuming. But the drawback has not stopped officials from asking for a permanent installation, with everyone agreeing that security cannot be compromised. The delays, however, continue.
It may be recalled that the 10 terrorists involved in the 26/11 terror attack entered Mumbai through the sea route, making the security of BWSL a key issue for the state. In 2009, the year when the sea link was thrown open to the public, then police commissioner D Sivanandan had written to MSRDC, asking to install high-quality security gadgets on the bridge to avoid a terror strike by an explosives-laden car. A list of things to be installed on the sea link was prepared by MSRDC in co-ordination with the Mumbai police and other security agencies.