Stadium security worries cops

The 260-plus high-resolution all-weather CCTV cameras at the Salt Lake stadium may have helped the cops ensure a trouble-free FIFA U-17 World Cup but the same devices now have them worried.

By Snehal Sengupta
  • Published 31.10.17
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CCTV cameras keep watch on the stands at the Salt Lake stadium. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya

Salt Lake: The 260-plus high-resolution all-weather CCTV cameras at the Salt Lake stadium may have helped the cops ensure a trouble-free FIFA U-17 World Cup but the same devices now have them worried.

With the extra security arrangement withdrawn from around the stadium, the Bidhannagar police are apprehensive about safeguarding the CCTV cameras, LED lights and other electronic equipment installed in the stadium.

During the tournament, around 3,800 cops were posted in and around the stadium complex. Cops were stationed near all the main gates and entry of outsiders was restricted, thus ensuring that the security cameras, lights and other electronic equipment worth nearly Rs 1 crore remained safe.

All the extra personnel deputed from Howrah, Hooghly and Barrackpore are now gone. The Bidhannagar Commissionerate has around 1,300 policemen working under 10 police stations and six traffic guards. In comparison, Calcutta police has more than 26,000 cops.

Before the World Cup, there would be police deployment at all gates of the stadium only on match dates. The area is, however, frequented by police personnel at all times as the complex houses the headquarters of the commissionerate with offices of the brass. Earlier, the police parked their vehicles, including water cannons, on a vacant plot of land next to The Stadel. But after the renovation of the stadium, the vehicles are parked near the police station.

Sparing men exclusively to guard the complex would be difficult for the commissionerate, an officer said.

Santosh Pandey, the deputy commissioner (headquarters), Bidhannagar Commissionerate, said efforts are on to draw up a plan so that there are policemen in and around the stadium complex at all times. "We are planning to keep all the main gates (the stadium has seven) except two under lock and key. We will post several policemen at the two gates for now," Pandey told Metro.

Police patrolling will be intensified both around the stadium as well as inside it.

The police are also mulling a police outpost near the VIP gate and gate no. 3 adjacent to the gate of the comissionerate headquarters.

The stadium complex has several private guards too and the police have asked them to be extra-vigilant.

"There are two slums right next to the stadium. Instances of petty thefts have often been reported from the area," an officer said.

The Eden Gardens, too, has several hundred CCTV cameras in and around it but there is a police picket right in front where several cops are posted day and night.