Pragati maidan,the sprawling mega-exhibitions facility which hosts trade fairs in the heart of national capital,will soon get an armed commando security cover in view of possible terror threats to the events held there. The Ministry of Home Affairs has “in-principle” approved a proposal moved in this regard by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the Central Industrial Security Force will be tasked to secure the activities round-the-clock at the 124-acre campus which offers about 61,290 sq meters of covered exhibition space in 16 halls,besides 10,000 sq meters of open display area.
“Security for the Pragati maidan exhibitions area is a very strong need keeping in mind the porosity and vulnerability of the facility.We are in talks with the Home Ministry and the decision for the deployment of security forces is in the final stage,” ITPO chief and CMD Rita Menon told PTI. “The security of exhibitors,buyers and visitors is of paramount importance for us and we require a disciplined mechanism to secure the premises from threat of any kind,” Menon,who had mooted and taken up the proposal with MHA authorities since she took over the reins of the autonomous body last year,said.
The Pragati maidan complex witnesses a huge rush of visitors and buyers during the popular exhibitions like Auto Expo and other trade fairs and display stalls on a variety of businesses and streams are a regular feature at the campus virtually round the year. Security sources said a terror vulnerability profile of the facility and access points has already been carried out by experts and paramilitary officials and a special component of commando trained CISF men are expected to be deployed in the next two months. A special vehicle-borne and sophisticated arms equipped squad of the force will be deployed at Pragati maidan complex to respond to any terror attack like situation,they said,adding that access control to the exhibitions area will be monitored by another team of the squad with help from private security guards.
The ITPO has also begun ear marking designated spots for placing of security gadgets of the CISF like X-ray baggage scanners,metal detectors and barracks for the paramilitary personnel. ITPO is country’s premier trade promotion agency under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and it is tasked to showcase excellence achieved by the country in diverse fields especially trade and commerce through exhibitions and fairs. Menon said the central security will initially be deployed for the Delhi premises and if need arises,its facilities in Chennai and Bangalore too could be extended this cover.
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