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HC seeks PWD’s views on PIL about preventing Sea Link suicides

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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the public works department of Maharashtra government to explain its stand on a public interest litigation demanding measures to prevent suicides or possible terror attacks on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

The division bench of Justices PV Hardas and Anuja Prabhudessai asked the department to make a statement on the next hearing on October 30. Petitioner, former journalist Ketan Tirodkar contends that Mumbai Entry Point Infrastructure Developers (MEPID) which collects the toll at the Sea Link and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) are not providing adequate security on the 4.8-km long sea bridge which is vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Also, five suicides (by jumping into the sea off the bridge) have been reported since the bridge was opened for traffic, the petition says, adding that there are only six CCTV cameras while the bridge requires 80 CCTV cameras to cover its whole length.

The PIL demands that the height of the railings should be raised to thwart suicide attempts. However, MEPID lawyer said that this fell in the purview of PWD, so the court sought latter’s views too.

More, better-trained guards should be deployed, as currently only six to eight guards are posted on the bridge, the PIL says. The toll collected on the Sea Link was Rs 77.85 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 53.43 crore up to January 2014.

A small portion of it is required for enhancing the security, according to Tirodkar. MSRDC and MEPID have filed affidavits stating they have taken measures to prevent suicides or potential terror attacks, and more than 80 CCTV cameras will soon be installed.

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