HC moots underwater cameras on sea link to step up security

The Bombay High Court has sought the opinion of the Centre and the Coast Guard on whether underwater cameras can be installed along the Bandra-Worli sea link to enhance security and prevent suicides. A Bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Bharati Dangre directed 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, Mr. 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 stretch. However, Prashant Sawant, the advocate for Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited, the authority responsible for maintenance and surveillance along the sea link, told the court that since 2014, when the PIL was filed, the security arrangements had been upgraded.

Mr. Sawant said, “A total of 86 CCTV cameras have been installed along the bridge, while 30 security guards remain deployed all along the stretch throughout the day.” 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. Mr. Sawant said, “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.” He said that another option of physically checking each vehicle would require additional space and would be too time consuming.