Herald: SECURITY: Beefed up or watered down?

SECURITY: Beefed up or watered down?

28 Apr 2019 06:11am IST
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28 Apr 2019 06:11am IST
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After the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter, several countries have been put on alert and security has been enhanced as intelligence reports have warned of more attacks. Since Goa has many heritage churches and hotels are almost filled to the capacity due to the summer vacation, and beaches are crowded with tourists and locals alike, Goa Police have increased security at these places, but have forgotten some of the other spots which are full of people. TEAM HERALD investigates some of the neglected spots in the State

ot a single cop is at guard or a CCTV installed at public places such as the market and the bus stand and yet the Goa Police has claimed that security in the state has been beefed up. Are the public spaces such as the Panjim bus stand and the market really safe?

In the follow up to the serial blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter, high alert was announced across the State and prominent places have been placed under special security, claimed Goa Police. Further, two-wheeler riding cops patrolling made to the newspapers and were viral on social media. 

However, a reality check exposed that the KTC bus stand in Panjim does not even have a single CCTV camera installed. A couple of them which are visible have been installed by the shop owners to keep a watch over shoplifting.

A shopkeeper informed that few months back police personnel visited them and advised them to install CCTVs. “We had it installed when we put the shop but nobody asks you and even the authorities are not bothered”, he stated.

Anybody can walk in with any kind of bag or commodity and no one is scrutinised.

The market is no different, whether the municipal market complex or the fish market. The Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) has for long been struggling to maintain the market complex. There is no security arrangement of any kind at any of the entry and exit points. 

CCP Mayor Uday Madkaikar informed that municipal security staff guards the complex during the night with the main gates closed and locked for any access. 

When questioned about security during the day and busy hours, he said “We have tendered for installation of 38 CCTV cameras in the market complex but the work order could not be issued due to the model code of conduct being in force. After May 23 we will issue the work order and by the end of June the installation process should be completed.”


GOVT BUILDINGS IGNORED IN MARGAO

The administration while beefing security at tourist places and churches in view of the bombing at Sri Lanka on Sunday has totally ignored public places specially government establishments that attract a lot of visitors.

Public transport locales like the Konkan Railway Station or the Kadamba bus depot at Margao are totally bare of any security arrangements. At the bus depot not even one police personnel was seen though there were many buses parked in the parking lot while other had passengers getting off or on them,

What would the police do against terrorists if they do decide to attack the bus depot asked one bus conductor who admitted that there is a total lack of security at the bus depot.

The Konkan Railway station is severely handicapped with lack of staff as only 16 sanctioned staff of Railway Police Force are expected to manage the entire railway station which has at present five railway platforms.

While earlier there used to be a metal detector frame at the main entrance, the same has been removed and even the baggage scanning machine that was there earlier has since been condemned and removed.

So the entrance to the Konkan Railway station is free for anyone and everybody from any of the platforms and also the main entrance where there is no security system worth its name in operation.

KRC Police Inspector Shailesh Narvenkar, while disclosing that he has written to install a Door Frame Metal Detector at the main entrance, admitted that the station has too many unguarded entry points that make the premises vulnerable.

The Matanhy Saldanha Administrative Complex is also totally bereft of any security arrangements. A police person is on duty at the main entrance which is used by VIPs but at the other entrances to the complex there is no security at all.

While earlier metal detector frames were fitted at the entrances, the same were sorely missing now and even the one at the main entrance has disappeared.

Superintendent of Police South Arvind Gawas said they have increased vigilance only at hotels and churches or rather places of worship. “In Sri Lanka if you notice only hotels and Churches were attacked and hence we have increased patrolling at these two places,” he said.
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