AIMING to reclaim the tag of Mumbai being ‘safe’ for women, Police chief DD Padsalgikar has asked all the 94 police stations across the city to conduct a survey and prepare a list of ‘isolated and vulnerable spots’ in their jurisdiction.
A joint team of local police personnel, officials from Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) and representatives from L&T (the company that bagged the contract to install 6,000 Close Circuit Television cameras across the city) has been asked to conduct the survey.
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A report has been sought by the team on how many electricity and CCTVs poles should be erected on these spots and how many cameras should be placed at each of these locations. Last month, a list of over 400 spots, including those in public places, had been submitted by the police stations. The survey teams have been asked to examine these spots and send a report by the end of next week. They have also been asked to ensure that these spots are not the ones that are already covered under the 6,000 CCTVs project.
“The meeting was chaired by Mumbai Police chief D D Padsalgikar last week where the survey teams have been asked to inspect the over 400 locations and submit a report on the point of requirements of CCTVs and poles for electricity and cameras,” a senior official said. “The purpose is to ensure that these spots are well-lit and under CCTV cover, to deter potential criminals. CCTV cameras would also aid in investigations in case there is any crime against women,” the official added.
Following the gang rape of a photojournalist in the Shakti Mills compound in 2013, the police had surveyed isolated locations across the city. As many as privately-owned 272 spots were identified and the police had written to their owners to secure their premises by at least deploying security guards. However, the plan saw a very poor response.
In May last year, the state government issued a Government Resolution (GR) asking the Maharashtra Police to identify isolated spots that are unsafe for women and ensure they are properly secured.
“The meeting last week was in connection with the impending proposal and the joint teams have been asked to prepare the report and submit it by next weekend,” added the source.
While in 2014, 272 locations were identified as vulnerable spots for women, the number has almost doubled in 2015 with the police now adding public spaces to the list.
“During his first interaction, the police chief had made it amply clear that women’s safety is his top most priority and therefore he is keenly following the development,” the source said.
On August 22, 2013, a 22-year-old photojournalist was gang-raped in the Shakti Mills premises, where she had gone for an assignment. Two weeks after that, a telephone operator from the city came forward, alleging that she too was gang-raped at Shakti Mills in July 2013.
The accused in both cases were later convicted.