Maharashtra ups security, identity cards for fisherfolk in Mumbai

August 1st, 2008 - 1:32 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 31 (IANS) The Maharashtra government has initiated unprecedented security measures in the state, including giving identity cards to fishermen and installation of CCTVs in hospitals, to ward off potential terror strikes. Security has been tightened at 23 major places of worship all over the state, including the Sai Baba shrine in Shirdi, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Pandharpur temple, and Mahalaxmi Devi temples in Mumbai, the Haji Ali and Mahim mausoleums, Mahim Church and others.

The decision was taken at a high-level state security review meeting presided over by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh Thursday.

Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil, top civil, police, military officials, heads of the railway networks serving city and heads of civic bodies attended the crucial meeting, held in the shadow of the ongoing investigations to unravel the terror networks.

Around 40-50 closed circuit television cameras shall soon be installed at the three main civic hospitals and medical colleges in Mumbai - Sion, Parel and Mumbai Central, Deshmukh announced.

This is in view of the terror attack on public hospitals in the recent serial blasts in Ahmedabad. Until now, terrorists have never struck at places like hospitals, but even these are no longer safe, the meeting noted.

State medical education secretary Bhushan Gagrani pointed out that the state-run J.J. Hospital at Byculla has 22 entry points for which separate security measures would be required.

Special measures have been announced for the suburban railway networks of Mumbai, comprising Western Railway (WR), Central Railway (CR) and Harbour Lines, which are the lifeline for over seven million daily commuters.

The Mumbai railway police forces have 424 hand held metal detectors, 20 doorframe metal detectors and four explosives detection units so far. In addition, they will be given four dog squads shortly to help detect explosives in railway premises.

On the CR network, stations like Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a world heritage building, Dadar, Kurla, Thane, and Kalyan have been provided with 150 handheld metal detectors, 72 doorframe metal detectors and 42 dog squads.

Similarly, on the WR, parcel depots at Churchgate and Virar, Grant Road, Mumbai Central Terminus, Bandra Terminus and Borivli have been provided additional round-the-clock security with 323 policemen and three dog squads.

The city police are carrying out systematic searches of private hotels and lodges all over to weed out suspicious elements and state transport and public buses are being checked during road blocks.

Deshmukh said until now, the coastal areas were ignored but that luxury could not be afforded anymore since threats may emanate from the seas.

“Accordingly, there is a need to provide identity cards to all fishermen and this will be taken up in a phased manner,” he said.

He also urged the state electricity authorities, power plants and water supply authorities to provide adequate security in public interest.

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