In a move that will be cheered by US visa applicants, the Bandra-Kurla Complex police have converted a patrol van stationed outside the US consulate into an unofficial ‘cloakroom’ where applicants can deposit their phones, laptops and other items banned on the premises for Rs 10.
Earlier, when stopped at the consulate gate, applicants would dump their phones, headphones, Bluetooth devices, watches, keys and other banned items outside the compound. Some would even pay Rs 400-Rs 1,000 to auto drivers to safe keep their belongings,” a police officer said. A security official at the US Consulate said the service provided by the police was proving very beneficial for visa applicants, especially those coming from other states.
“Though the consulate website lists all the items that are prohibited on the premises, applicants still carry their phones and electronic gadgets along with visa documents. As consulates do not have a facility to store prohibited items, visa applicants either discard them at the gate, request strangers to look after them or come back later with another appointment,”
Based on the feedback given by the patrolling cops at the consulate, police commissioner Sanjay Barve launched the cloakroom service in the patrol van on May 21. “The plan was initiated when unattended bags were found near the consulate, resulting in two bomb scares two months ago,” said an officer.
The patrol van has 107 lockers for around 1,000 visa applicants who visit the consulate daily. The cloakroom service starts at 6 am and is available till 2 pm every day. And if delayed, applicants can collect their deposited articles from the BKC police station. To avail the service, an applicant pays Rs 10, registers his phone number and gets a token, along with a payment receipt. The sons of two constables man the cloakroom for a stipend. Head constable Uttam Kamble supervises the duo. The fee collected is deposited in the Police Welfare Fund.
Source – TOI