From July, travelling on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link will be slightly safer. In a move to preempt any possible terror attacks on the landmark bridge the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will install an explosives scanner on the sea link
“We will install one scanner costing Rs25 crore at the Bandra end by July. Hopefully by the year end, we will add another one at the Worli end,” MSRDC vice chairman and managing director Bipin Shrimali said.
The MSRDC has procured this scanner from Bharat Electronics Ltd. The scanners will be installed on the extreme left hand lane of the sea link approach road. Certain vehicles will be identified for checking and will be asked to move to that lane. The passengers will be asked to alight from the vehicle while it is being scanned, as the law does not allow anyone to be exposed to radiation. The car scanners will be able to check for concealed weapons, bomb-making material, and other objectionable cargo.
“The normal checking time for each vehicle will be around 60-90 seconds. We will opt for sample checking as checking all the vehicles will not be possible,” Shrimali said.
However, this could also lead to some traffic trouble, especially during peak hours.
The entire process will be handled by the Mumbai Police, who will also be equipped with hand-held scanners to scan passengers, if necessary.
After the sea link was inaugurated in 2009 the only security system for the link were the six CCTV cameras which were installed for the dual purpose of surveillance and for capturing images of speeding vehicles that could later be tracked and fined by policemen.
The Mumbai Police had then written a letter to the MSRDC saying that it needed nearly Rs 50 crore to spruce up security over the sea link. However, since 2009, the process had been stalled. The MSRDC had an elaborate security plan for the sea link, which has still not been implemented. It had planned to procure various high tech devices including high speed boats, floating buoys, floating jetty, walkie-talkies, high speed motor bikes, towing vans and an observation tower.