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Meghalaya on security alert

- Hyderabad blast triggers concern

Shillong, Feb. 25: Meghalaya has been put on high alert following the terror attack in Hyderabad last week. The Union ministry of home affairs had put all the states on alert following the bicycle blasts in which 16 people died and 117 others were injured.

“There is nothing specific, but the ministry has put all the state police under general alert after what had happened in Hyderabad,” Meghalaya inspector-general of police (operations) G.H.P. Raju told this correspondent.

Following the directive, he said crowded areas in the state, particularly in the capital city and in Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills, have been kept under surveillance.

The Meghalaya Assembly polls, where voting took place on Saturday, had passed off peacefully without any hindrance to the safety and security of voters across the 60 constituencies.

Counting of votes will take place on Thursday across 13 centres.

With closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras displaying vital clues following terror attacks, nearly 33 locations in the state capital and in Tura have been identified for the installation of such cameras as a step towards combating crime.

After the state government had given an in-principle approval, the district police chiefs of East Khasi Hills and West Garo Hills have identified 23 and 10 locations, respectively, for installing the cameras in the capital city and in Tura.

Last year, the state police had initiated the Secure-Safe-Shillong project to counter the safety challenges surrounding this hill city.

In the first phase, around Rs 5 crore will be utilised to implement the ambitious project.

The objectives of the project include controlling and reducing crime and antisocial behaviour, ensuring safety and security of public places, hotels, business establishments, shopping centres, residential areas by leveraging technology, enhancing surveillance capabilities by multiplying the eyes and ears of police, reducing police response time and forging a strong partnership between the police and community.

The Secure-Safe-Shillong strategy includes procurement and installation of CCTV cameras at strategic locations and connecting them to the central control room as well as to the respective police stations in the city, besides creating partnerships and developing collaboration with public and private sectors, citizens and the business community.

Business establishments, banks, hotels, restaurants will be encouraged to install CCTV cameras on their premises with ability for continuous recording.

The CCTVs will serve to deter crime and to provide evidence for prosecution.

A plan will also be developed for the public to reach out to the police and vice-versa through an “alert network” for information sharing between police and citizens using SMS and mobile phone calls.

An alarm system for the city will also be developed.