The Mumbai police’s ambitious plan to shift the main police control room from its present location at the 150-year-old commissionerate building at Crawford Market to the traffic police headquarters in Worli has been shelved.
This decision was taken to avoid “unnecessary spending” at a time when the force is starved of funds for modernisation, said sources in the home department.
The Rs 4-5 crore, which was required for the relocation, has been denied and hence the plan shelved, sources said, adding that the “Tughlaqi plan” faced sharp criticism from the home department.
But joint commissioner of police, law and order, Rajnish Seth denied reports that shortage of cash was the reason behind abandoning the relocation plan. “For such crucial areas, funds are never a problem,” Seth said. He said the main control room would now come up in the proposed seven-storey annex building on the commissionerate’s compound.
The Police Housing Corporation will construct this building that will house several ancillary units that presently are scattered across the city. But the blueprint of the building is yet to be prepared.
The move to relocate the main police control room was initiated following the RD Pradhan committee recommendation post-26/11 terror attacks (see box, The Recommendations)
The panel had suggested that the control room be shifted to the land available behind the office building of the police commissioner. The proposed site for the construction of the annex building accedes to the recommendation.
In April last year, the Mumbai police had made a hasty announcement that the control room would be shifted to the traffic police headquarters at Sir Pochkhnawala Marg in Worli.
Former Mumbai commissioner of police D Sivanandhan had said the new 5,000 sq ft control room would have better working environment and have features like changing rooms and shower rooms, which are the basic requirements at a work place that is open 24x7.
The main police control room, which is headed by an officer in the rank of assistant commissioner of police, is considered to be the nerve centre of the Mumbai police as far as assimilation and dissemination of information goes.
For every 100 (or 103, or the three alert numbers) number dialled from anywhere in the city, the control room gets a flash on its maze of plasma screens and the feedback follows within seconds.
In terms of sophistication and response, it can be compared with the best of the forces in the world for its satellite communication, GPS and GIS network. More than 120 officers, constables and ministerial staff each work in three shifts (totalling 360) round the clock at the control room.
However, the 2,200 sq ft control room (with a mezzanine floor) is facing a space battle between the men and the machines.