The Maharashtra government has decided to upgrade security at the state secretariat after a string of suicide bids at the premises in the past a few months.
The government also wants to ensure that grievances of people, who come with their pleas to the secretariat, are heard and addressed so that they do not resort to attempting suicide at the place.
A senior home department official said a comprehensive plan is being formulated to prevent such incidents at the seven-storey secretariat building, or ‘Mantralaya’, while keeping the premises open and accessible to people.
“We have held discussions on this issue and are working on a comprehensive plan to reduce such incidents that are an embarrassment for the government. The challenge before us is to keep the building’s access to people while maintaining its security,” he said.
He said maintaining security is easier for them if the access of the place is denied to a large number of people.
“However, we have to keep the Mantralaya easily accessible to people from all strata of the society,” the official said.
He said modalities are being worked out to ensure the place is accessible to the people and their grievances are addressed so that they do not make attempts to commit suicide.
“We have had preliminary discussions and we have some thoughts and ideas on the table,” the official said.
“To start with, we have decided to have CCTV cameras covering every nook and corner of the secretariat. Though we already have the police presence in Mantralaya, we will look at the deployment of security men on every floor to help guide the people and prevent such incidents,” he said.
Another measure under consideration is fixing a safety net across the first floor, similar to the ones put up during the construction of high rises, the official added.
On January 22 this year, an 84-year-old farmer from Dhule district had consumed a poisonous chemical at the state secretariat, demanding a better compensation for his land.
On February 8, a 45-year-old man committed suicide by jumping off the fifth floor of Mantralaya. He was convicted of killing his sister and was out on parole since January 10.
Besides, on February 2, a farmer was taken into custody after police found a pesticide in his pocket during a search at the secretariat gate.
In another incident, a 32-year-old aspirant of a government job had attempted suicide at the Mantralaya gate last week.
On November 10 last year, a 28-year-old farmer from Osmanabad district had climbed on the parapet of the seventh floor of Mantralaya, demanding a slew of welfare measures for cultivators and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
Police later managed to convince him to climb down from the building.
In September 2016, a 30-year-old man from a slum in suburban Malad had tried to immolate himself in the main lobby of the secretariat building over an issue regarding his house.