The holiday season has begun and there is inflow of lakhs of passengers at Chennai Moffusil Bus Terminus (CMBT) in Koyambedu.
But even as the authorities mull introduction of more buses to handle the crowds, the CMBT is suffering from a lack of adequate policing.
Touted as one of Asia’s biggest bus terminuses, CMBT is spread over an area of 36 acres in Koyambedu, it is accredited with ISO 9001:2000 certification. But in place of the sanctioned strength of 120 police personnel, it has just 30 policemen.
“About half of the staff is employed for driving, writing and for other administrative work. The remaining 15 work on a shift basis with each shift comprising five policemen,” said a police officer.
As a result, the police are not able to provide adequate security to passengers at the bus terminus. “Two instances of chain-snatching have been reported at CMBT over the past few weeks. There have also been complaints of lost baggage,” said the police officer.
Many passengers who come to CMBT from other districts often sleep in the terminus premises. “Many youngsters carry their school and college certificates in their bags. When they sleep, the culprits steal their bags and flee the place. It is sad to hear their complaints as many of them come for job interviews or to apply for higher studies,” the officer said.
On Monday morning, there were very few police personnel and home guards patrolling the terminus. “The crowd inflow is heavy throughout the day as it is vacation time. With limited manpower, we are unable to patrol the entire campus. Thieves often strike when we change shifts. We need more strength to prevent crimes against commuters,” the officer said.
With limited resources, the police personnel are doing their best to prevent crime. “We have told bus conductors to ask window-seat passengers to be alert. Commuters are also advised to keep bags containing valuables on their laps instead of placing it on the luggage rack,” the officer said.
Another factor that hinders proper policing is the poor quality of CCTV cameras installed in the premises. “Cameras have been installed by the CMDA but the footage has poor clarity. The vehicle’s point of view is pathetic,” the officer said.