The spot where the picket will be set up on Marine Drive in Kadma on Thursday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Journey through the Marine Drive that links Mango with Adityapur Toll Bridge is set to become safer with police planning a permanent picket to beef up security, especially at night, on the all-important artery.
According to sources, the police have already selected a spot near Rupnagar for setting up the picket with four constables and a head constable in between Kadma and Sonari police stations.
A senior police officer said that they were waiting for a nod from the state headquarters in this regard. “Once we get the approval, construction will start,” he added.
Superintendent of police (SP), city, Karthik S. said that the increase in traffic volume in the recent time had also seen a steep rise in the crime graph on the 9km-long road, prompting the authorities to initiative the move. The proposed picket is likely to be in place by the end of October.
“A large number of commutes are using the thoroughfare now. More vulnerable are heavy vehicles, like trucks and trailers, which take the route at night only after the no-entry is lifted. They need more security,” the SP explained.
He added that police teams from Kadma and Sonari thanas did patrol the artery at night currently to ensure security for commuters.
However, the absence of any permanent police post has been providing criminals an escape route.
During the past five years, about a dozen murders and over 120 incidents of loot and snatching have taken place along the Marine Drive.
According to a rough estimate, over 2,000 trucks and trailers cross the thoroughfare daily. And with a no-entry in place for heavy vehicles till 10.30pm, most trucks and trailers enter the city only around midnight and often fall prey to loot and snatching gangs.
“Heavy vehicles are allowed to enter the city only between 2pm to 5pm and then 10.30pm to 6am. So, a large number of trucks pass through the stretch only after 10.30pm, which makes them an easy target for criminals,” said another police officer.
He added that the gangs active in the area mainly targeted lone vehicles. “The Kadma and Sonari police keep vigil at the two ends of the stretch. So criminals mainly attack the commuters at the middle of the stretch and run away easily,” he added.
Also, he added, there had been incidents when assailants killed truck drivers on the road and threw the bodies elsewhere. “Over half-a-dozen slums located along the Marine Drive have made the stretch a heaven for loot and snatch gangs,” said he pointed out.
A trailer driver, Satpal Singh, who was waiting for the no-entry to relax this afternoon, was pleased to know that a police picket would soon come up. “I frequently commute between Kadma and Sonari through Marine Drive. During night, it is really scary to drive through the stretch. Most of the time there is no police on the road. But once a permanent picket comes up, commuters will feel safe,” said Singh, a resident of Sitaramdera.
President of the Adityapur Small Industries’ Association S.N. Thakur welcomed the move. “We have to travel to Mango quite often. But we prefer a long route via Bistupur and Sakchi at night. Once the police post comes up, we can take the Marine Drive,” he added.