Unchecked boxes at parking
lots, could they be bombs?
By Shweta Srinivasan
Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) Deftly manoeuvring my car, I squeezed
it inside a packed parking lot in the capital's busy Nehru
Place commercial complex. My eyes fell on rows of motorcycles
and scooters - many with suspicious looking cardboard boxes
strapped on them. A nice little place I thought to plant a
bomb. I shivered.
recent months, bomb hoaxes at Nehru Place and at the Intercontinental
Hotel nearby have been rampant.
asked a parking attendant: "What is the security like?
Are these unattended boxes checked?"
reply came with a shrug: "The vehicles belong to people
attendants were only concerned with stuffing cars into the
inadequate spaces of the municipality-run parking lot. Over
300 motorcycles and a thousand cars are jammed into these
parking lots at any time of the day.
situation was just as lax at the underground multi-level parking
lot at Palika Bazaar in Connaught Place, the very heart of
security guard handed me a digitally generated ticket. I drove
the car down to the second rung. The car park, in a buzzing
commercial hub, is the oldest of its kind in the capital.
guard let me drive through without checking my car but he
did check the one behind. Even in that case, all he gave was
a casual glance into the contents of the boot.
Place was one of the three markets in Delhi that were rocked
by bomb blasts Sep 13 killing 24 people in the city.
saw a few dusty CCTVs at the entry points. Are they monitored?
The attendant was clueless. "Humein kuch nahin pata (I
don't know anything)."
away, in south Delhi's hugely popular Sarojini Nagar market,
I found cars parked helter-skelter along the main road. It
was here that a powerful bomb in October 2005 claimed 62 lives
a day before Diwali.
drove my car into the parking lot near a school, close to
the perennially crowded vegetable market.
parking attendant was all of 13 years.
wanted to know if the cars were checked at all. Initially
shy, he opened up: "We have been briefed to report anything
suspicious. Some policemen come every two hours with an inverted
mirror and scan the bottom of the cars. In peak hours even
that is rare."
the underground parking near the Delhi Police headquarters,
the situation was worse. The dingy lot looked eerie, though
it was afternoon.
wanted to park my car there because I assumed it would be
well guarded. But there was not even a single guard.
the slots full, I managed to insert my car between two other
cars precariously parked on a slope. A teenage boy with a
bunch of clinkering keys came running out of nowhere and handed
me a parking ticket.
boy admitted that cars were not checked. He added cheekily:
"Don't worry, your car won't get stolen."
recalled that stolen vehicles had been used in most cases
I walked out, I noticed two constables sipping tea, armed
with batons. An hour later, when I returned to take my car
out, they were still sipping tea.