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Are our ST depots safe from a terror attack?

Thursday, March 14, 2019
By Shrikant Khuperkar

Barely three weeks after a public scare at the State Transport (ST) bus in Raigad in which an explosive was found, the ST department seems to have not taken any serious measures to secure its fleet of buses.

Kalyan ST bus depot which is one of the busiest one with nearly 1,200 buses entering and leaving the premises, was visited by ADC correspondent. The depot is crowded all days. Buses from various depots and even Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Transport (KDMT) and Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) have their halts at this ST depot.

The place is encroached by two-wheelers parked illegally around the depot which could be a possible threat for the security of the depot.  

Depot In-charge Vijay Gaikwad said, “My team including the controller and other staff regularly do rounds of the depot. I have also informed the canteen staff to keep an eye on any unclaimed baggage. About the parking is concerned, each day there are many people visiting on bikes and we cannot stop everyone. I have informed the local police to look into this matter. Our staff is already occupied with the daily schedule and we barely have any time left to check about the two wheelers.”

When we asked about the autorickshaw and six-seater rickshaws dumped in the free space at the back yard of depot, he said, “RTO Kalyan is making use of this space for impounded vehicles with a charge of Rs. 50 per day. The ST depot wants to claim the space. However, there is no response from the Kalyan RTO.”

Senior inspector of Mahatma Police Station – jurisdiction for the ST Depot,  said, “My team and I visit the depot each day and our personnel is available to respond to any situation at the depot”. About the two wheeler issue he said, “We have asked the Depot controller to look into the issue”.

Vijay Gaikwad, Head of the depot, further said, “Within few days, this depot will be demolished under the Smart City project. A 3-storey annex structure will come here at a cost of nearly Rs. 550 Cr. The project is approved by Central Government and is undertaken by JMC projects limited, Chennai. Depot, workshop and KDMT as well as NMMT halts – all will come under one roof. Lets see when the project will start.”

When this newspaper tried reaching Project In-charge K. Pari, VP of JMC projects, there was no response.  

Speaking about the vehicles impounded inside the ST Depot, Sanjay Sasane, In-charge of Kalyan RTO said, “These are vehicles impounded mainly due to suspended permits of the vehicles for various traffic offences. There are some autos which are impounded for being older than 15 years. Many of these vehicles lay unclaimed and we will soon be auctioning them on March 26 onwards.”

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