December 29, 2008

Hospitals, the soft targets of terror

First Ahmedabad and now Mumbai, hospitals have been the new targets of terror. And post-26/11 authorities in Mumbai are cranking up security at these soft targets.

One of Mumbai's busiest hospitals King Edward Memorial has become the first civic hospital to do so.

It has installed cameras everywhere. At least 160 security guards will work in three shifts monitoring the premises with the help of 50 close circuit cameras.

The hospital has also installed four door frame metal detectors. However, the security guards have also been given hand held detectors.

The administration says these measures will now be a permanent fixture.

"We will have alarms for all six buildings for emergency situations. Those can walk will be asked to leave through pre-identified channels. And those are bed-ridden will be taken care of by the hospital staff," said Sanjay Oak, Dean, KEM Hospital.

Though patients and their relatives at this 1,735 bed hospital will have to put up with security checks, they aren't complaining.

"If it only stays for some time and goes away then it will do us no good," said one of the patients.

At any given time, there are over 3,000 people in the hospital. Post-26/11 the threat to this hospital is very real. So, introduction of security checks is a positive step but the challenge will be to ensure it is sustained.

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