The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Special force for Salt Lake footbridges

A murder and a dacoity in a span of three days have sent shock waves across the police administration in Salt Lake. In the aftermath, some of the local police stations will lose security control over the township’s footbridges.

Senior officers have decided to wrest control of the footbridges on Keshtopur canal from Bidhannagar (East) police station. Of the eight bridges on the canal, three are in the East police station area. “The Community Services Control Room (CSCR) will monitor the footbridges from now,” Ajay Nand, Salt Lake’s additional superintendent of police (ASP), told Metro on Thursday. “The CSCR will also deploy the force to monitor the three footbridges,” he said.

Other senior district police officers hinted that soon other footbridges might also be brought under the CSCR’s direct control. The CSCR is a special team, comprising 100 police officers and constables.

“The team will be in close coordination with residents and help them,” said Sujoy Chanda, Salt Lake’s sub-divisional police officer (SDPO). The team, with five mobile vans and 10 motorcycles, has its divisional control room at the SDPO’s office. Similar CSCR teams are active in Bolpur and Durgapur, officials added.

District police officers have replaced the inspector-in-charge of Bidhannagar (East) after the murder of a caretaker and the dacoity and assault on a 75-year-old man in a span of three days. They are now laying stress on a vigil on the footbridges, connecting Salt Lake with Keshtopur.

Earlier, too, the police had slapped a ban on motorcyclists using the bridges. But lack of proper vigilance by the local police stations failed to fully implement the ban. “These footbridges are used by criminals to enter Salt Lake, commit a crime and escape. We want assistance from all sections, including Bidhannagar Municipality, to keep a vigil on these entry points,” ASP Nand said. The ban on motorcycles would not only help check crime but maintain the footbridges, which are in bad shape. “Residents who ride motorcycles can take a longer route to enter the township,” Nand added.

However, the township’s residents are not too confident. They said such steps had been taken earlier, to no avail. “Monitoring these footbridges is essential. But after dark, there is no vigil,” alleged Umapada Chatterjee, secretary of the AK Block association. He added that police patrol in the blocks has practically stopped. “We had submitted a deputation with the police a few days ago,” Chatterjee said.

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