The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is all set to take over the security charge of Statue of Unity — world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with a height of 182 metre — located in Kevadia in Narmada district. On Monday, the first batch of CISF personnel arrived in Kevadia and underwent Covid-19 antigen tests as part of the protocols. Officials said that the personnel tested negative but have been sent to self-quarantine for seven days, following which, an installation ceremony will be held.
As many as 272 CISF personnel have arrived in Kevadia and been sent to self-isolation in designated barracks, officials said. Nilesh Dubey, Deputy Collector, Kevadia, Narmada and also the Chief Administrator of Statue of Unity, said, “It has been under consideration since last year to hand over the security to CISF. The date of installation ceremony will be decided later.”
Officials said that CISF will guard the Statue of Unity to ensure a smooth flow of tourists once the facility reopens later this year. Currently, the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and the local police in Narmada manages the SoU premises. However, with the statue gaining popularity among tourists from different parts of the world, officials said that the government has been looking at a more “professional” management of crowd.
An official said, “The CISF is trained to handle installations and movement of people like in airports. They also manage the Taj Mahal. They ensure smooth movement. Unlike the local police that sometimes gets into verbal spat with visitors during heavy rush days. The deployment of CISF will take away the load from the SRPF and the police that have other peripheral projects around the SoU to supervise.” The official added that the CISF has been given the security charge of SoU keeping in mind the sensitivity to terror attacks.
“The Narmada Dam is already a sensitive installation and so is SoU now. So, the CISF will also have a permanent dog squad stationed in Kevadia for the statue,” the official added. The personnel will soon be joined by their families, according to officials. “Right now, they have been asked to report individually but we have assigned barracks to them keeping in mind that their families will move here with them eventually once the provisions are in place for schooling of their wards and other such needs,” the official said.
The official added that the number of personnel needed at the site was decided following multiple visits by teams of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs as well as the CISF. “They considered the number of access points, entry for visitors, unmanned exits and other possible ways to venture in and out. Teams came from New Delhi as well as Navi Mumbai because this falls under the Western Zone of CISF,” said the official.
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