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How safe are the five sea fronts in Mumbai? HT finds out

mumbai Updated: Aug 25, 2017 08:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Terror,Marine Drive

Here’s what HT found when our reporters went to see how safe the five main sea faces in Mumbai are

Illegal parking protects Carter Road

Every evening is a celebration at Bandra’s Carter Road. A man plays a harmonium near the amphitheater, while youth groove to hip-hop music. The promenade is crowded with college students, runners, couples and families with children.

So how safe is the popular hangout? The 350-metre stretch that has a dog park, an amphitheatre and a children’s park is fenced by a three-foot-high concrete wall. There are bollards at the entrance, which has a police chowky too.

Bikes and cars are parked all along wall on the road, a veritable obstacle course. But they also make a Barcelona-style drive-through terror strike near impossible.

Juhu beach, popular but unsafe

The Juhu beach is one of the most vulnerable spots in the western suburbs. Celebrities regularly go there to jog or exercise. The beach has three main entrances – one near the Santacruz police chowky, the other at a distance known as the middle entrance, and the third near the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue, which is the only one with metal railings and a raised footpath. The entire beach boundary along the Juhu Tara Road is fenced with a two-foot-high concrete barrier, but in the middle there is a wide open space through which a big vehicle can enter the beach. The entrance near the beat chowky has a ramp to let clean-up vehicles in but there are metal barriers too. “As the footfall is heavy in the evenings, we patrol the area and monitor the CCTV footage. We continue patrolling till late in the night,” said an officer.

Worli, the safest

The Worli sea face, crowded during the morning and evening hours, is the safest of the five in the city. The 1.5-km stretch starts from Worli Koliwada and ends at the southbound stretch of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. A visitor needs to climb a three-foot-high promenade to gain access to it. Banker Raj Ghosh who is a regular visitor says the height will prevent any vehicle getting on to the promenade. “More precautions need to be taken so that no vehicles with explosives can be parked near the stretch endangering lives of visitors,” he said.

Cops to BMC: Make Queen’s necklace inaccessible

The 3.6km Marine Drive promenade is one of the places the Mumbai police considers vulnerable to a Barcelona-style terror attack. Since the promenade is less than three feet higher than the road, the police have asked the BMC to install barriers to ensure a vehicle can’t get on to it. A senior police officer said, “We are constantly patrolling the whole stretch and see to it that our officers are deployed there at all times.” A regular walker at the spot, however, said new safety measures should not prevent people from walking and relaxing on the promenade nor take away from the beauty of the place.

Narriw lane serves as saviour for Versova beach

A small lane off the main road leads to Versova beach and this is the best defence. A police van is always stationed near the entrance to the lane, which has just a small shop and scores of two-wheelers parked on it. A drive-through terror strike is a near impossibility. “Due to the small lane, vehicles automatically slow down while entering the beach. There are residential areas on either side of the lane and there are houses on the beach too,” said a policeman on patrol. Entry to the beach from the lane is unrestricted and ramps are built during the Ganpati festival to facilitate movement of idols for visarjan.

“Usually, local residents step out and sit. Very few people visit this beach and it is only crowded during Ganesh visarjan,” said a woman who stays in the area.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 00:54 IST