Overbridge poses a grave security risk to Mumbai Airport

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Overbridge-2Since its inauguration on Friday, the long-awaited Milan road overbridge (ROB) has been speedily catapulted to the status of the city’s newest tourist destination. The uninterrupted view that the ROB provides of the city’s airport and runway has drawn scores of curious visitors, who flock to the bridge, park their vehicles, and click photographs of the airport with impunity. Others can be seen taking videos of planes as they lift off into the skies.

While onlookers enjoy the panoramic view, authorities seem to be blind to the fact that this could pose a grave security risk to the airport. Transport experts feel that the installation of vision barriers is the need of the hour, so that shutterbugs or their counterparts don’t get an expansive view of the airport premises.

The Milan ROB was thrown open to the public on Friday, after its inauguration by CM Prithviraj Chavan. Soon, locals started flocking to the bridge to enjoy the view. Private security guards tried to shoo them away, but the onslaught of onlookers was relentless. Last afternoon, the shutterbugs were present in large numbers, having parked their vehicles on the road.

Overbridge-1A local resident said, “Even in the late night hours, we have seen people using the bridge for walks. I even saw some miscreants sitting on the wall. Before anything untoward happens, the concerned authorities should take note of the security threat.” Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “While there are many vital security installations in the city which are on the radar of terrorists, the security of the airport cannot be compromised. The MMRDA should not just install vision barriers on the Milan ROB, the planning authority should also install CCTV cameras on the ROB to keep tabs on the people using it.”

An official from Mumbai International Airport Limited said, “We expect the basic rules are followed on flyovers, such as prohibition of halts, videography or photography. Regular patrolling should be done so that such things can be stopped.” Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan of MMRDA said, “If an agency like the Home Department or the Airport authority tells us to install the vision barriers or view cutters on the ROB, we will do so.” When we brought the matter to the notice of cops, they promised to take stock of the situation.

Additional CP Vishwas Nangre Patil said, “This fact has not been brought to our notice yet but we will surely review the same and if necessary ask MMRDA to install the vision barriers and view cutters on the ROB.” Brijesh Singh, additional CP for traffic, said, “If people are stopping on the ROB then we would put up signboards saying that it is prohibited.”

Great expectations
The Milan ROB will provide a solution to the perennial problem of traffic congestion caused by waterlogging in the Milan Subway every monsoon. The 700-metre long Milan flyover will provide two lanes each for traffic and connect the eastern and western suburbs, saving motorists time, fuel and vehicle-operating costs, and lowering pollution levels. The flyover will see more than 35,000 vehicles daily, which will ease traffic congestion in the area.(MD)

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