The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cover for malls & halls

Mumbai, Aug. 4: Post-7/11, Mumbai’s malls and cinemas will have to upgrade their security and will be subject to surprise checks by police.

A legislation is to be enacted to ensure that the new security measures for public places are strictly implemented. Adequate closed-circuit televisions and metal detectors will have to be installed and the number of trained security personnel guarding the properties increased.

Deputy chief minister R.R. Patil announced these measures after a two-hour dialogue with over 55 representatives of cinemas and shopping malls at the Sahyadri guesthouse this afternoon.

Mumbai police commissioner Anami Roy, additional chief secretary (home) A.P. Sinha and other top officials attended the meeting, the second one in the past week. The meeting followed intelligence alerts that terrorist groups could target public places after the 7/11 train bombings that killed 187 and injured 750.

Additional commissioner of police (protection) Surendra Kumar made a detailed presentation, pointing out the lacunae in security at large public establishments.

Patil, who also holds the home portfolio, said: “We are taking necessary measures to protect railways, but upgradation of security systems at these public places is the need of the hour.”

The proposed legislation would ensure that security is integral to the construction of any new mall or multiplex. “The security aspect is not specifically looked into when new multiplexes or shopping malls are built. There will have to be some minimum security measures they would have to take before construction. Licences can be cancelled if the security measures are not found adequate,” Patil said.

The minister added that the state would liaise with the Centre to waive customs and excise duties on security gadgets like CCTVs, door-frame metal detectors and X-ray machines. He said Mumbai police would set up a cell to assist multiplex and mall owners in purchasing security systems.

Provisions would be made to ensure that the owners could levy a security charge on customers, he added.

“We have already installed 16-17 CCTV cameras, and employed lady personnel for frisking women customers. Some security devices can cost between Rs 20 and 30 lakh. We welcome Patil’s announcement of obtaining a waiver on customs and excise duties, and service taxes,” said Manoj Desai, owner of 7-G Multiplex.

Adlabs owner Manmohan Shetty, who runs Fame Adlabs and Imax Adlabs, said: “Public security is of prime importance, and a balance needs to be maintained between doing business and ensuring security.”

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