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Updated: July 18, 2011 16:29 IST

Mobile system collapsed after blasts, says Chavan

PTI
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Forensic experts investigate near the Opera House blast site in Mumbai on Friday morning.
PTI Forensic experts investigate near the Opera House blast site in Mumbai on Friday morning.

"Could not reach top officers for 15 minutes"

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday said he could not reach the State's top officers, including the police chief, for nearly 15 minutes after the triple blasts here, calling the situation “very serious.”

Mr. Chavan said the situation arose due to “complete collapse” of mobile communication on Wednesday evening for the first 15 minutes after the terror attack in which 18 persons were killed. “We were in a very tense position.”

He said the government was now thinking of having satellite phones or developing a secure communication network.

“The mobile communication completely collapsed. The phone lines got jammed. I could not contact the chief of police, the DG police for 15 minutes [after the explosions]. That is very serious. We depended on our mobile phones and radio wireless communication devices,” Mr. Chavan told TV channels.

“I've talked to the national security people to develop a secure network so that the situation like the 15-minute network jam does not happen again,” he added.

Mr. Chavan said authorities were trying to revive the State-wide Very High Frequency network as a back-up since it was not currently in use.

He also spoke of the need to expedite the procurement process of police modernisation equipment, specially CCTV cameras to be installed at prominent places.

Mr. Chavan also said he was looking into why it was difficult to procure equipment for the police force.

“Everything that has been recommended [in Ram Pradhan Committee report] has not been done, like purchase of closed circuit cameras. The procurement is a problem...police modernisation programme has not moved as rapidly as we would have liked to,” he added.

‘No intelligence failure'

Mr. Chavan disagreed that there was an intelligence failure in giving a warning of the triple blasts.

“We routinely monitor electronic equipment, nothing came up, and there was no lead from Delhi,” he said.

Mr. Chavan, however, agreed there was a need to increase intelligence gathering capabilities.

He said the State Cabinet, at its meeting on Thursday, informally discussed the difficulties caused by the visits of VIPs with large entourage at hospitals during emergency situations, which put a strain on hospital administrations.

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