Punjab may splurge on bulletproof Land Cruisers for CM, dy CM

Each vehicle that will replace Mitsubishi Monteros is likely to cost more than Rs 1.3 crore, finance department studying proposal.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh | Published: January 23, 2016 8:36 am
Prakash singh badal, Sukhbir singh badal, punjab news Parkash and Sukhbir Singh Badal at the SAD rally in Muktsar. (Source : Express photo by Gurmeet Singh/ file photo)

Cash-strapped Punjab is planning to splurge once again – this time on a fleet of bulletproof Toyota Land Cruisers for the Chief Minister’s convoy to replace the Mitsubishi Monteros that are used at present.

Each Land Cruiser is likely to cost more than Rs 1.3 crore, not including the bulletproofing, which will send the cost per vehicle soaring higher.

The proposal is being examined by the Punjab finance department. The police had first sent the proposal to the transport department, which in turn sent it to the finance department for approval.

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Of a total 14 sanctioned bulletproof vehicles in the fleet, there are at present nine bulletproof Montero vehicles and two Land Cruisers for the Chief Minister and his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as both of them are in the ‘high security’ protection category.

The CM and deputy CM use these bulletproof vehicles locally during district tours, after arriving in the area in the Rs 38-crore Bell helicopter that the state government owns.

A set of bulletproof vehicles are on standby as per the itinerary at the place of their landing.

“The Land Cruiser would require level four bulletproofing that will cost nearly Rs 35 lakh for each vehicle,” said Sunchit Sobi, director of Jalandhar-based Laggar Industries told The Indian Express.

“Montero can have only level three bullet proofing as level four bulletproofing takes its toll on mobility. Level three bulletproofing is done to prevent attacks from weapons such as AK47 and self-loading rifles. Level four bulletproofing is for armour-piercing weapons,” Sobti said.

Transport principal secretary R Venkatratnam said the finance department was examining it. “The proposal is being examined,” said finance department Principal Secretary D P Reddy.

“The bulletproof Montero vehicles have been used since 2008 and hence there is a need for changing the fleet. The most viable option is to replace these vehicles with Land Cruiser vehicles,” said Inspector General (Chief Minister’s security) A K Pandey.

“In the wake of terrorist attacks at Dinanagar and Pathankot, the threat perception is all the more high,” Pandey added.

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