The Bandra-Worli Sea Link will be guarded with hi-tech security gadgets by the end of this year.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is finalising tenders for buying equipment worth Rs42 crore. DNA was the first to report in September 2009 about former police commissioner D Sivanandhan writing to the corporation that Rs50 crore was needed to secure the sea link from a ‘spectacular terror attack’.
A senior MSRDC official said that the corporation had appointed consultants to assess the requirement and submit a report. Based on their report, the MSRDC has decided to buy four mobile-based scanners.
“These scanners will be manned by the city police,” the official said. “Each scanner is capable of detecting even the smallest of threats that can damage the sea link. These scanners can detect guns, ammunition, and explosives such as RDX. It takes about 20 seconds to check one vehicle.” The scanners would be placed about 100 metres from the toll plazas.
The MSRDC wants to tighten the security in the sea as well. “We will garland all pillars of the sea link using fluorescent buoys,” another official said. “These buoys will prevent any vehicle from directly hitting the pillars. Also, the gaps between pillars would be closed. Four or five gaps would be kept open for fishermen, though.”
The scanners are good, feel experts, but there can be loopholes. The scanners can monitor only four lanes at the entry and exit points in Bandra and Worli. So, when four lanes are being monitored, four would remain unmanned, an expert said. Also, if all vehicles are checked, it would defeat the purpose of cutting down on travel time by using the sea link.