Sea link threatens to become death path as cameras go blind

Bandra-Worli Sea Link may have become the new suicide destination with three people jumping to death in the past two months, but Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is yet to repair surveillance cameras out of order for months.

Three of the six cameras MSRDC installed on the 4.7-km link to help prevent mishaps have not been functioning. A fibre-optic cable laid to transmit real-time CCTV footage to Traffic Police Control Room was damaged last year and is also yet to be repaired.

"We started repairs, but it turned out to be a major fault and the CCTV cameras were sent back to the company. Now, it depends on how long the company takes," an official said.

One of the three defunct CCTV cameras was positioned at the turn near Worli, another on the main cable-stayed bridge and the third in the middle of the sea link. Cameras near Worli sea face, the Bandra end of the link and at the second cable-stayed bridge towards Worli are functioning.

Tushar Solanki (28) of Mira Road had jumped to death off the sea link on Monday. In August, an unidentified man walked onto the link giving security a slip and jumped off.

In the same month, 56-year-old Lalit Sheth, managing director of Raj Travel World, jumped to death from the Worli stretch.

Footage from the functioning CCTV cameras was of little help in investigations into the deaths. Questions have been raised about security of the sea link ever since it was thrown open to the public in 2009.

In June 2009, D Sivanandhan, then Mumbai Police chief, had written to MSRDC emphasising the need for security equipment.

Accordingly, the corporation floated tenders to procure high-speed motorbikes, porta cabins, speedboats, towing vans and walkie talkies, but did not get a response. It has now decided to procure two explosive detection scanners from Bharat Electronic Ltd. The scanners will be fitted by the yearend. Dangerous trend

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