Costly gadgets’ shoddy maintenance work has pushed several essential police equipment to a corner.
In yet another example of money spent on equipment purchase by the police after the 26/11 terror attack going down the drain, the over Rs 7-crore Mercedes explosives detection van has been rendered nearly “useless”, as the bomb-detection parts of the van, will not to be repaired.
The van will now be used as any other police vehicle, as the cost to repair its explosive-detection parts, are way too high.
Similar has been the fate of amphibious boats, which were procured by the city police for patrolling in the sea and beaches after the 26/11 terror attack.
A senior IPS officer, who did not wish to be named, told HT that the van has been repaired but its explosive-detection parts cannot be fixed because of the high costs. And the van would be most likely used as a strategic mobile command post like any other police van with the Mumbai police. “The explosive-detection equipment is beyond repair and the costs to re-install it are very expensive. We have decided to use it as a van,” he added.
The van has been parked outside the new building of the commissioner’s office in Crawford market after it underwent servicing and other vehicular repairs in the police garage. Even some parts of the van had to be brought from the overseas. Ironically, the van was taken for repairs only after HT highlighted the van lying unused for many years in its report in October 2015.
The Mumbai police had procured the van after the 26/11 terror attack in 2008, in which over 160 people were killed and over 300 injured in the multiple attacks carried out by 10 Pakistani terrorists in the city.
As many more terror attacks were anticipated and to defend them the van was bought. In 2010, its first annual maintenance contract ended and the van, which was with the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) developed a technical snag.
In 2012, when some senior officials dug up old records, it came to light that there was no maintenance contract for the van and its repairs would cost over Rs 75 lakh and an additional Rs 70 lakh would have to be spent on its annual maintenance, police sources said.
However, top officials of Mumbai and the state police were opposed to spending such a large sum on the van. Sources in the police said the van could detect explosives within the 10-meter-radius and was brought as it was apprehended that terror activities may increase after the 2008 fidayeen attack.