Mumbai under elaborate security blanket for Ganpati celebrations
Starting Friday, Mumbai will celebrate Ganpati festival with great vigour and pomp. As the city gears up for massive celebrations, the Mumbai police, civic authorities and district administration officials have drawn elaborate security measures. Mumbaikars should brace for security checks, identification stickers, metal detectors, hundreds of CCTV cameras and bollard along the immersion spots of various beaches.
In a bid to avoid Barcelona kind of attacks, the Mumbai police have issued guidelines to organisers of Ganesh mandals. No vehicles will be allowed to park within 500 metres of pandals. Organisers, members of Ganpati mandals, residents of a locality where a pandal has been set up will be issued identifications stickers for their vehicles to avoid confusion.
Apart from CCTV cameras that are used for traffic monitoring purposes, additional cameras will be set up at sensitive areas and junctions. Localities that will witness heavy footfall have been identified and proportionate security deployment has been designed.
Security at the beach front
Close to 17 lakh people are expected to visit Mumbai over the next ten days to witness Ganpati celebrations. Heavy footfall is expected at Mumbai's beaches. Towards the end of the celebrations immersion spots at Girgaum, Dadar, Worli, Versova, Malad and Gorai will see heavy crowds.
Bruhanmumbai Municipal Corporation has been asked to secure areas along the sea coast. The police on their part have decided to use bollards at strategic locations to stop vehicular movement as the first line of security. This is a precautionary measure to stop a Sweden or Barcelona type of attack. GIven the trend of terrorists targeting crowded places and initiating attacks using heavy vehicles, precautions have been taken to avoid such scenarios.
3,300 traffic policemen will man Mumbai's roads while at least 100 policemen will be deployed at every big Ganpati Mandal. Special anti-eve teasing squads have been formed to help women devotees visiting mandals.
Command centre near iconic Lalbaugcha Raja
The Mumbai police will set up a special command centre for ten days at the city's iconic Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal. close to 50 CCTV cameras will be used to monitor crowds in real time. All footage will be managed by a control room that will continue to work until the last day of celebrations. In all 600 policemen will guard the mandal round the clock for all days of the celebrations. Drones have not been used so far but the police are not averse to the idea if need be. The control room will double up as a command centre and a DCP rank officer will oversee operations.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police will guard Lalbaugcha Raja while Rapid Action Force and state reserve police platoons will form the outermost layer of the security.