Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has sought the opinion of the Centre and the Coast Guard on whether under water cameras can be installed along the Bandra-Worli sea link to enhance security around the area and to prevent incidents of suicides or other crimes around it. A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Bharati Dangre directed on Wednesday that the Centre and the Coast Guard be impleaded as parties to a PIL seeking better security arrangements at the sea link.
The PIL, filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar, alleges that the “sea link is fast becoming the favoured suicide spot for disheartened citizens,”and that there existed loopholes in the existing security arrangements. On previous hearings, Tirodkar had sought that more security guards be employed and cameras be installed under water, and bomb detectors be used along the 4.8 km long stretch.
However, Prashant Sawant, the advocate for Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited, the authority responsible for maintenance of, and surveillance along the sea link, told HC that since 2014, when the PIL was filed, the security arrangements had been upgraded. “86 CCTV cameras have been installed along the bridge.30 security guards remain deployed all along the stretch 24×7,” Sawant said.
He, however, said that the Court’s previous suggestion on installing ‘travel through X-Ray scanners’ to check against potential bomb threats couldn’t be implemented. “In India, the use of such scanners is not permitted since the scanner checks cars while the passengers are inside the vehicle. This exposes the passengers to harmful rays,” Sawant said.
He also said that another option of physically checking each vehicle would require additional space and would be too time consuming. “Thus, that option was also dropped,” Sawant said. He suggested that the coast guard or other expert bodies be asked about the option of under water cameras. “In that case, let Coast Guard, and the central government be a party to this PIL. They can assist us on whether such cameras can be procured and installed,” the bench said.
HC has now granted four weeks to Tirodkar to implead the Coast Guard and the Union as parties to his plea.