| Focus on security
Tamluk, May 7: CCTVs will be installed in all Digha hotels and crowded beach stretches, and tourists will be asked for identity cards at the lodging facilities, the moves part of efforts to beef up security at the seaside resort where seven murders have taken place in the past year.
The East Midnapore administration said the steps, which will come into effect by the end of this month, were part of its crime-control exercise.
“Mamata Banerjee wants to turn Digha into one of the top tourist spots in Bengal. We realised that in order to develop and decorate Digha, we will have to address the security issue. So we have asked hotel owners to install closed-circuit TVs,” an official of the Digha-Shankarpur Development Authority (DSDA) said today.
A senior police officer said most of the seven persons killed in the past year were tourists.
“Five of the bodies were recovered from hotels. In December, a young woman was found murdered in her hotel room. Her husband was nowhere to be found. The cellphone number provided by the man was non-existent and the address fake. The woman’s body is yet to be identified,” the officer said.
“In August, the bodies of a middle-aged husband and wife were found in a hotel room. Their two companions are yet to be traced. We suspect them to be behind the murders. If we have CCTVs in hotels, it will be easier for us to keep track of the guests and their movements,” he added.
The officer said many criminals used tourist havens such as Digha to hide. “CCTVs will help us identify them if they stay in hotels.”
DSDA executive officer Soumen Pal said: “Apart from installing CCTVs, hotel owners have been asked to keep records of all guests. The guests will have to carry identity cards, such as voter I-card, PAN card or driving licence. Photocopies of the I-cards will have to be deposited with the hotel management. Phone numbers provided by the guests will be cross-checked. The hotel owners will have to submit the photocopies of the I-cards at the police station.”
East Midnapore police chief S.K. Jain said CCTVs would also be installed at crowded stretches of the beaches at Old and New Digha. “We have identified several such spots. We have decided to set up CCTVs there to keep a watch on tourists,” he said.
In the last week of April, DSDA authorities held a meeting with senior police officers, four hotel owners’ associations and local panchayat officials. “We took the decisions at the meeting. The hotel owners welcomed the step,” Pal said.
Bipradas Chakraborty, the joint secretary of the Digha-Shankarpur Hoteliers’ Association, dubbed the meeting fruitful. “There are around 500 big and small hotels in Digha. On average, 8,000 to 10,000 tourists come here every day. We have already started the process of installing CCTVs in hotels. It will take about Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 to install CCTVs in each hotel but it will help keep tabs on guests,” he said.