Four years after its inauguration, the city’s iconic Bandra-Worli Sea Link is still the most vulnerable installation for terror attack, in the absence of a foolproof security cover. In a 36-hour marine mock drill called Sagar Kavach, the coastal security officials managed to breach the security at BWSL by penetrating into the city’s defence machinery.
Right after construction of the Rs 1,648-crore bridge started, political parties eagerly locked horns over issues pertaining to its name, escalating costs and delays. But not one has yet noticed its susceptibility for a terror hit.
A year after it was inaugurated, then police commissioner
D Sivanandhan wrote to the MSRDC about the possibility of ‘spectacular attacks’ on it. He had asked for Rs 50 crore to equip the city police force with high-speed patrol boats, concrete jetties, two control rooms, and an explosives scanner. Till date, a proposal is yet to see the light of day.
In the past four years, BWSL’s security has been violated many times. With no one to man the entry point at Worli, dozens of people have killed themselves by jumping off the bridge. Even a terror suspect, Qateel Siddqui, arrested in the German Bakery blast, confessed to walking over the bridge with explosives before tossing them into the sea below.
At present, there are CCTV cameras to keep vigil but they are not enough to stop a terror strike. Last year, the MSRDC had decided to install bomb scanners at the Bandra end of the BWSL but all that talk is water under the bridge now.
With plans of a watertight security stuck in red-tape, the fate of roughly 40,000 motorists who use the sea link on a daily basis is anyone’s guess.