Mumbai Entry Point Infrastructure Developers (MEPID), the agency responsible for operating the Bandra-Worli sea link, has said it will be installing 80 additional CCTVs within 60 days, in an affidavit filed in the Bombay high court on Tuesday.
The work order for the installation has already been issued, and a cost of Rs. 2 crore will be incurred on safety measures, including payment to 30 security guards and six ‘riders’ to monitor traffic, the affidavit said.
It also says that despite ‘providing every possible security measure’ and successfully preventing 14 suicide attempts, there ‘will not be absolute protection to prevent’ all suicides.
The reply was filed in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar.
“I say that it is impossible to have every inch guarded for probable suicide attempts...to have a human chain of security standing round the clock for the same,” said MEPID’s response. “Since [the sea link] is a one-of-a-kind structure in the city, it seems to catch the fancy of people, and when it does, unfortunately, it attracts negative publicity…”
MEPID will be sharing footage obtained from its cameras with the state authorities when required, it said. In its affidavit filed on Tuesday, the MSRDC said that precautions were being taken, including kerbs and crash barriers. “In case of unauthorised stoppage and pedestrian movement, it cannot be contended that there is criminal negligence,” said the reply filed by Anil Diggikar, vice-chairperson and managing director of MSRDC.
Tirodkar will be filing his rejoinder to both these replies. The matter will next be heard after two weeks.
About the PIL:
* The PIL has sought action against MEPID and the managing director of MSRDC, who are collectively responsible for the sea link.
* Filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar in the wake of a spate of suicides off the road, it has also sought for them to be directed to pay compensation for failing to install sufficient security and surveillance infrastructure.
* Tirodkar has contended that the 4.8-km long sea link, commissioned by MSRDC and operated by MEPID, is vulnerable to terrorist attacks and for use as a suicide spot.
* “At present, there are merely six cameras installed on this bridge, whereas, the requirement is for 40 CCTV sets, to ensure monitoring in the real sense of the term. Moreover, the quality of the cameras is pathetic,” his petition stated. He has suggested X-ray machines at either end to detect the presence of explosives, more and better quality CCTVs and underwater surveillance.