A recent incident of a schoolgirl being molested in a subway near Metro cinema in South Mumbai has again raised the issue of safety and security of pedestrians in subways. The police claim that they had made several suggestions to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure security in subways, but the latter has not acted on them.
On December 12 last year, a 14-year-old schoolgirl was molested in the subway near Metro cinema. The girl had lodged a complaint and the police on December 26 nabbed Dinesh Hiralal Makwana, 20, the accused who lives on the pavement near SNDT College at Churchgate.
The Azad Maidan police, who have two subways (CST station subway and the subway near Metro cinema) within their jurisdiction, say that following the incident, they have asked their beat patrolling personnel to maintain strict vigil near subways and keep drug addicts and rowdy elements away from them. However, they also said that the primary responsibility of safety lies with the BMC.
“We are doing as much as we can, but the safety and security issue of subways is the responsibility of BMC. There was a plan to install CCTV cameras inside the subway and increase the number of security guards, but nothing has been done by the BMC,” said senior inspector Narendra Singh of Azad Maidan police station.
Some time ago, a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer had met the civic chief and had briefed him about the issues regarding security of subways in South Mumbai. The police officer was assured that the matter will be dealt with utmost priority, but the corporation has not acted on the issue yet.
“We have written to BMC on four occasions. We had also suggested that if the CCTVs are installed, the BMC can also keep an eye on the illegal hawkers in the CST subway. Secondly, if a crime is committed, the CCTVs will help us in detecting it,” said Ravindra Shishve, deputy commissioner of police, Zone I.
Officials from the bridges department of the civic body said the security department has been asked to increase the number of guards in subways. “We are in the process of inviting a tender to put in place electrical wiring, fire-fighting systems, CCTVs along with required repairs to ensure the safety of pedestrians,” said SO Kori, chief engineer of bridges department.