Proximity raises security concerns

It is not just the MRTS network that raises security concerns, writes

S. Vijay Kumar

The Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) services will be suspended for more than an hour on Saturday evening. Reason: the tracks run very close to the new Assembly and Secretariat complex that is to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the presence of many VVIPs.

Trains running close to vital installations like the new Assembly and Secretariat complex on Anna Salai, and the Chepauk cricket stadium, remain a perennial threat considering the proximity, say police officials. “We will have a Rs.24 crore worth security system in place to protect the new complex. Train services will be suspended from 4.45 p.m. till further advice on Saturday,” Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran said on Friday.

It is not just the MRTS network that raises security concerns. That a flyover runs close to the US Consulate and another flyover is located opposite the Chennai Airport was also a matter of debate among security agencies on many occasions. “There is a proposal to move all foreign establishments, particularly embassies and consulates, to a safer place in the city,” another police official said.

During the IPL cricket matches, a special team in plainclothes would be deployed to keep tabs on suspicious persons around the stadium. “The presence of the Railway Protection Force personnel will be increased in MRTS stations. We will soon have Closed Circuit Television network established in all 17 stations,” said Inspector General of Police and Chief Security Commissioner (RPF) G.M.P. Reddy. At the airport, an official in the Chennai Suburban Police said policemen with binoculars would be deployed atop three hills near the line of landing or take-off.