The ease with which the terrorists entered the city has exposed the faultiness in the security arrangements at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which is located on the coast at Trombay in north-east Mumbai. Now residents have voiced their fear especially after SRA buildings are being erected very close to the periphery of the BARC despite the threat that any terror attack on BARC would reduce India to dust. Despite the government having declared BARC a nuclear weapons complex, security measures at BARC are inadequate. It makes one worry because had the terrorists entered the complex through the sea then the entire nation would have been held hostage. A large number of fishing trawlers operate along the Trombay coast, and in the absence of foolproof security the terrorists could have accessed BARC from the sea or even targeted it with rockets from close range. Former Corporator Prakash Bhosale voiced concern over lack of security at BARC. To make matters worse an SRA project by RNA Builders – a builder group known to have the blessings of an ex-Sena strongman now in Congress is building a residential complex that is a pebble-throw away from compound walls of BARC. The project is also bang opposite Bharat Petroleum refinery. The matter is so grave that Deputy Commissioner of Police D Sawant had written a letter to the SRA Board asking it to ensure that the project was not implemented. His report was endorsed by late ACP Ashok Kamte. However, despite their objections and concerns, the state heard no one as the SRA project has started off. The residents too shared their concern and fear with us. Sources say that BPCL has been vehemently objecting to the SRA project citing security considerations but shockingly the state government and MCGM say that there is no security threat to BARC or the refineries due to this SRA project. No points for guessing that they are saying this under pressure by the same senior politician who is backing the SRA project. However what the state government, politicians and MCGM fails to understand is that unlike the Taj, CST or Oberoi terror attack, the consequences of a terror attack on BARC, could reduce India to dust. With cameraperson Vikrant Baile, Mushtaq Khan for NMTV News.
August 6, 2008