The iconic Gateway of India, always swarming with tourists, will soon be under strict surveillance.
The area surrounding the popular landmark will also undergo a sea change to ensure a delightful experience for tourists.
A month-and-a-half before the fifth anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks, the Mumbai police along with other authorities have launched a project called ‘Tourist First’ to change the experience of visiting the Gateway of India. As part of the project, high-level training to deal with terror attacks will be provided to all employees of hotels and restaurants surrounding the structure. This includes employees of Hotel Taj Mahal, which was targeted by terrorists during 26/11. Apart from this, 15-20 CCTVs will be installed around the periphery of the Gateway to keep an eye on activities.
Tourist First has been conceptualised by additional commissioner of police Krishna Prakash and is being coordinated by Nilesh Kumar, CEO of N Kumar Associates International. Safety, security and cleanliness are key aspects of the initiative. The project proposes to collect Rs5 per person as entry fee. The money will go to maintain the Gateway.
Prakash said staff of nearby hotels will be trained by the police and the Central Industrial Security Force. “The syllabus for the high-level training on giving the fastest response in case of a terror attack will be prepared soon. The training to be provided to all employees of nearby hotels, restaurants and stores is likely to start in 15 days,” Prakash told dna. On the decision to install 15-20 CCTVs, he said the management of Hotel Taj Mahal has agreed to provide financial assistance for getting that done.
“The project will be implemented without any hindrance. We will ensure that the aesthetic value of the iconic heritage structure is not compromised,” Prakash said.
Tourists will get a warm welcome at the venue as boat crews and photographers will be groomed to behave in a friendly manner.
“So far, we have trained 210 photographers on good behaviour, soft skills, grooming, first aid and business development,” said Kumar.
Three-hundred boat crews will receive customised training in the coming days. Photographers and the boat crews will be dressed in uniforms and provided with identity cards.
There are plans to have a photo gallery and a museum at the Gateway for lovers of art and history.
“The project will be completed in phases. We received the go-ahead for the photo gallery and the museum from the department of Maharashtra Archeology and Museum on Tuesday. It will have old photos of Mumbai, Gateway and heritage the buildings around it such as the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Hotel Taj Mahal, Evelyn House and others,” Kumar told dna.
Senior citizens need not feel left out. There will be special seating arrangements for them and VIPs at the venue.
The authorities involved in the project are Mumbai Port Trust, Mumbai police, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, India Tourism, BMC, Maharashtra Maritime Board, Boat Association, Photographers Association, Bombay Royal Yacht Club and Bombay Radio Club among others.
A new Gateway of India experience
Training will be given to boat crews and photographers on dealing with tourists. They will be groomed for good behaviour, first aid, soft skills, business development and crowd management
Uniforms Photographers and boat crews will get uniforms at subsidised rates so that they can be easily identified in the crowd
I-D cards They will also be provided with identity cards after police verification. However, they must have Aadhaar cards and give their addresses, photographs, family details, etc
CCTVs 15-20 CCTVs will be put up in the periphery of Gateway to prevent untoward incidents
Respond to terror attacks Mumbai police and CISF personnel will provide high-level training to employees of restaurants, hotels, stores around Gateway for fastest response to terror attacks
Tourist First initiative proposes seating arrangement for senior citizens and a lounge for VIPs at Gateway of India
Grievance Cell Tourist counter or grievance cell proposed to be set up where tourists can make inquiries, lodge complaints or give suggestions
Photo gallery, museum Will have old photos of Mumbai, Gateway and nearby heritage buildings