The Punjab government Tuesday accorded on Brig Gautam Ganguly the rank and pay of deputy inspector general (DIG) in the Punjab Police for three years, the move coming a day after the Council of Ministers cleared the retired Army officer’s appointment as security adviser to DGP Dinkar gupta
Ganguly is another addition to the army of advisors in the state government, often scoffed at as being a burden on the exchequer. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh also has a security advisor Khubi Ram. Ganguly is considered close to the DGP.
The appointment has been made to further strengthen the Special Operations Group (SoG) of the Punjab Police with improved training and equipping skills, an official spokesperson of the police department said on Tuesday.
Ganguly has served more than 33 years in the armed forces, including four years as the NSG force commander handling counter-terror and anti-hijacking operations. He had also conducted numerous operational deployments in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, including execution of Operation Dhangu Suraksha (attack on Pathankot IAF Base), the official said.
The retired brigadier has specialised in the training of special forces and has been involved in many capacity building programmes. His vast operational expertise would benefit the operations and training of the SoG, the counter-terror force of Punjab, the spokesperson said.
The main objective of the SoG was to counter the efforts of Pakistan to intensify the terrorist offensive in Punjab through a series of targeted killings in 2016 and 2017. Ganguly is expected to lead the operations and raids, besides handling hostage situations, along with other senior officers and personnel of the force.
Apart from this, he will be entrusted with the responsibility of training, equipping and orienting the SoG to counter the various challenges posed by state-sponsored terrorism emanating from across the border, the official added.
The newly appointed security adviser would also be involved in the training of the state armed police battalions, the anti-riot police, and other specialised units of the Punjab Police, undertaking extensive and qualitative training of the bomb disposal and the K9 (canine) squads of the state police, said the spokesperson.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Taksali has slammed the Punjab government for its decision to appoint (retd) Brigadier Gautam Ganguly as security advisor to Punjab Police, calling the decision “wildly unreasonable, inappropriate and patently absurd”.
In a statement issued here Tuesday, senior vice-president for former deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Bir Devinder Singh, said, “The development renders the most competent police officers as incompetent to assist the DGP in handling difficult security conditions in Punjab.
“The very propriety of the purpose of setting a new gratuitous convention of having a security advisor for the Punjab Police, is a questionable misnomer. What would be the overlapping role of so many ADGPs…at the police headquarters vis a vis a high profile security advisor? Already the state has top heavy police set-up, with 8 DGPs, 2 Special DGPs and 20 ADGPs, 28 IGs and DIGs…difficult to count…,” said Bir Devinder.
He added that a couple of DGP and ADGP rank officers of the Punjab Police are just sitting on “insignificant postings with no important job to perform”.
“Why have a straitjacket DGP in the first place, who needs an Army officer as security adviser to handle security affairs of the state, over and above the significant strength of ADGPs, IGs (zonal) and DIGs of various ranges, who all have rich field experience, having combated successfully the protracted militant insurgency, during most trying times in Punjab,” Bir Devinder asked.
He added that “in a cash-starved state, facing unprecedented resource crunch, the practice of having advisers must be done away with”.