Sea link still camera-shy

Aug 03, 2012, 07:19 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Only 6 CCTV cameras are installed on the 4.7-km stretch, which is also a potential terror target

Raj Travels owner Lalit Sheth committing suicide by jumping off the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) on Wednesday afternoon has once again raised questions over the tall claims made by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) that the iconic structure is secured.

Out of sight: CCTV cameras installed on the sea link as well as under the deck have failed to capture any images of Lalit Sheth. File pic

CCTV cameras installed on the sea link as well as under the deck have failed to capture any images of Sheth.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Jayant Mhaiskar, director of Mumbai Entry Point Limited (MEPL) — the toll-collecting agency on BWSL — said, “Already there are six CCTV cameras placed on the sea link, but none of them have recorded any footage of someone jumping into the waters below.” Six cameras appear too few to monitor activities on the 4.7-km bridge. It should be noted that MSRDC had even said that traffic officials would penalise offenders who either halt their vehicles or get down on the sea link.

So, where were the traffic police marshals when Sheth was in the process of taking this extreme step?

When questioned about the inadequate security on BWSL, MSRDC minister Jaydatta Kshirsagar said, “It’s unfortunate that such incidents are taking place on the sea link, but we would see to it that security is beefed up.”

In 2009, then police commissioner D Sivanandan had asked MSRDC to employ high-tech security methods for BWSL. Many of his suggestions haven’t been implemented yet.

Speaking to MiD DAY, a state government official said, “Sivanandan had written a couple of letters to MSRDC, asking it to make provision for approximately Rs 50 crore to secure the sea link — especially the cable-stayed portion — against a possible terror strike.

Taking a serious note of the possibility of terror strikes, MSRDC had even installed explosives scanners at BWSL on a trial basis. However, they had to be removed as the process was time consuming and led to ugly traffic snarls.

MSRDC vice-chairman Bipin Srimali said, “The process of installing necessary security equipment will start soon as we have already ordered for the same.”

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