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The great wall of calcutta police

Calcutta police have a new shield against marauding mobs — the Aluminium Alloy Wall. The city traffic department has procured 50 such ‘walls’, which will replace the guardrails that are used to erect barricades. The walls were put to use for the first time at Esplanade during an agitation by taxi drivers. Monalisa Chaudhuri takes a close look at the latest addition to the Calcutta police armoury

Height: 1.8m. Slightly more than the height of an average person, so that the wall can completely shield cops during a violent agitation that may involve pelting of stones.

Width: 1.2m. The segments can be interlocked to form a chain of barricades. “No one other than the police can open the locks,” said an officer.

Weight: Each segment weighs 46-48kg. Heavier than a guardrail now used to erect barricades during an agitation. Because of the weight protesters will find it difficult to remove the aluminium alloy walls.

Base width: 0.12m. Unlike a guardrail that stands on wheels, the alloy wall has a ‘permanent’ base.

Design: The alloy wall is built like a mesh to allow cops sheltered behind it a clear visibility of what is happening on the other side. The wall is fitted with a structure (circled in the picture) on which a cop can stand.

Advantage: “Apart from being a strong physical barricade, the wall will serve as a mental barricade for protesters who would know their limit,” said an officer. “Gone are the days when an unruly mob would flung aside guardrails — loosely bound to each other with a rope — and go on the rampage.

Teething trouble: The wall was put to use for the first time on Monday. “The mode of policing required by the alloy wall during an agitation is yet to be worked out,” said an officer.