Even after a 26/11-like attack was recently averted by the Coast Guards at the Gujarat coast, the city is still to beef up the security at the Gateway of India.
While the city police have sent eight requests seeking permission for installation of a security system at the heritage spot since 2008, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to respond. The last letter to the civic body was sent on December 19.
The proposed security plan seeks installation of at least 32 CCTV cameras and metal detectors, eight-ft high permanent barriers, baggage scanners and watch towers at the Gateway of India.
“Setting up these systems will ensure every person is frisked and passes through the metal detector before entering the city. We have a few detectors at the Colaba-end, but people getting off ferries can escape those. We need to barricade the area with X-ray scanners. We have written to the BMC on several occasions, but there has been no progress in the matter,” said Krishna Prakash, additional police commissioner, south region.
The civic body puts CCTV cameras in the area only on festive occasions. “We want the BMC to install the cameras permanently, but they have denied it saying a comprehensive plan to set up more cameras is in the pipeline,” said a police official, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
According to BMC officials, the heritage committee had objected to the plan sent by the civic body. “We suggested that instead of permanent barricades, a transparent movable barrier be placed, so that the view of the monument is not affected. The BMC officials will now have to take a decision. We did not reject or hold back the proposal. It has been put on hold by the BMC,” said committee chairman V Ranganathan.
Despite repeated attempts, assistant municipal commissioner of A ward Chandrashekar Chore was unavailable for comment. Civic officials, however, said the delay was because of the slow bureaucratic process.