The security at the Sardar Sarovar dam,said to be high on the hitlist of terrorists,is anything but high,as a visit to the site revealed.
The lone high-speed boat,bought by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) for Rs 1 crore a year ago to patrol areas surrounding the dam,still lies unused for want of qualified crew members.
The only light machine-gun deployed at a check post near the dam had a unique problem on the day this newspaper visited the site. A frog perched itself inside the magazine slot even as a police constable and the two personnel of Gujarat Industrial Security Force (GISF) guarding the spot tried ways to goad it out. The gun was not tended for months,it was learnt.
Officially though,according to SSNNL officials,the dam surrounded by hills and bordering Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh is guarded round-the-clock by 85 GISF personnel.
P M Patel,a senior engineer with SSNNL,says,The boat cost around Rs 1 crore,but we have not been able to recruit qualified crew members, he said.
As a result,a team of GISF personnel has now been deployed to guard the boat,according to Narmada district Superintendent of Police P L Mall. He said besides GISF personnel,30 police personnel are also deployed for guarding the dam.
However,despite official claims,security at the site remains lax. In fact,the police had even written to SSNNL authorities complaining about rampant absenteeism among GISF personnel deployed there.
Not very long ago,only two of the five high-mast lighting system installed at the dam site were functioning. The SSNNL authorities took months to mend them, a local said.