Hyderabad: It seems that they Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has not learnt lessons from the past.
It has been turning a blind eye to security aspects of major public parks in and around Hussainsagar, that are less than a kilometre from TS Secretariat.
Even after a major bomb blast that claimed the lives of 42 people and severely injured 80 at the Lumbini Park in 2007, the HMDA is yet to tighten security. The areas in and around Hussainsagar lake have an average footfall of 10,000 on any given day and during weekends, the number might even touch 25,000.
According to official data, a private agency has been entrusted to secure all pathways, open spaces, ticket counters, entrance gates, parking area, water fountains and other areas in Lumbini Park, NTR Gardens, Sanjeevaiah Park and PV Ghat. Besides this, it has to secure the Necklace Road, including main road starting from Indira Gandhi statue to Sanjeevaiah Park entrance, all pathways in the area between the road and lake shoreline and all open spaces, including People’s Plaza.
The HMDA has handed over the contract to provide integrated security services, with man power and security equipment, at Buddha Purnima Project (BPP) area that includes Lumbini Park, NTR Gardens, Necklace Road, Sanjeevaiah Park, PV Ghat and other areas. As per the agreement, the private agency that has been finalised for the project will maintain multi-zone Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMD), high definition PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) cameras and also a command control room at each park to monitor the security.
However, due to negligence of the HMDA authorities, the private agency has been conveniently avoiding the prescribed security equipment and using the cheapest ones that cannot detect ferrous, non-ferrous and ferrite objects.
Highly placed sources in the HMDA said that the private agency has not even bothered to set up a command control huts at any of the offices. It has been only maintaining the equipment left over by a previous agency.
Sources said that the existing DFMDs would only help monitor two zones while the actual requirement is to cover nine and above zones.
The agency has not even installed one PTZ camera while the actual requirement is 14. The agency has been using the cheapest 2 mega pixel outdoor Power over Ethernet (POE) cameras.
Sources claimed that the existing security equipment cannot detect several types of explosives, thereby posing a grave threat to the visitors. They said that despite poor security arrangements, the agency has been claiming Rs 1.5 lakh towards monthly maintenance charges.
When queried about this, a senior Buddha Purnima Project (BPP) official said that he was unaware of the issue as he had assumed charges recently. However, the official said that every park has a command control room. Meanwhile, on weekends, NTR Gardens, the biggest park has around 12,000 visitors.