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Sachivalaya sabotage could still be a cakewalk Saturday, December 15, 2001

GANDHINAGAR: Friday 4.15 pm: The Sachivalaya is not buzzing with activity, but you can walk in through the main gates on a two-wheeler (a car, however, raises eyebrows!), especially if you are a woman. At block no. 1, the guard halts you and asks for your identity card, and then lets you in. Nobody stops you till you actually reach the floor on which the CMO is located. A posse of cops interrupt your stride and scrutinise your identity card, but eventually let you go. The effects of the terrorist strike on Parliament shows.

But here there are no 'hidden' video cameras keeping a watch on you. You could have even met the chief minister if you put forth convincing credentials before the armed guards. Except that, incidentally a group of important-looking officers from the police department and bureaucracy walked in at that moment for a meeting to review the Sachivalaya security!

Security officers posted in the Secretariat admit that if a suicide bomber came in (especially on a two-wheeler), it would turn out to be a case of security lapse. "There is nothing we can do," says a senior officer from the Gandhinagar district police. The only obvious signs of security _ after the alert was sounded _ are barricades put up at the gates and the entrance to the Assembly.

The saving grace in Block 1 is the close-circuit TV which gives a view of all the gates to the Secretariat. However, say sources the camera for viewing the porch at the entrance to block no. 1 was installed only recently. And the CCTV is operative only at times when the Sachivalaya is working.

At the Raj Bhavan and the CM's residence, security has been tightened but CCTVs are yet to be installed. Police officers posted at Gandhinagar say, "Things will improve after Tuesday because at least 800 persons are on duty at Motera at present." According to a senior official, "No cars are allowed to remain parked in the premises after office hours, and a register is also maintained of people who enter the Assembly," a senior officer told TNN.

The other distinct addition in the security is the sudden increase in the number of policemen on the road to Sachivalaya beginning from the Indroda circle. This is the case at other important junctions too, but this might be owing to the cricket match. "They might just make this a regular feature at the CMO, but at rest of the places it will barely last a week," says a security guard posted here.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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