December 1, 2008 9:14:26 am
The Centre has drafted a plan to urgently deploy rapid action units of the National Security Guard (NSG) in six or seven cities, including Mumbai. Until the state units are created, it is proposed to utilise personnel of commando units of the three armed forces in the states.
Though a Cabinet note for NSG “decentralization” was ready weeks before the Mumbai attack, the proposal is being amended following the high-level meeting chaired by the Prime Minister yesterday.
Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, who attended the meeting, told The Indian Express that the NSG’s state expansion plan, augmentation of coastal security, creation of a federal investigation agency and steps to be taken to improve security in hotels were among the subjects discussed at the meeting.
National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, Principal Secretary T K A Nair, Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta and the Defence chiefs also attended the meeting.
“For the next one week, I will be postponing most other scheduled meetings to give final shape to proposals on all these subjects,” Chandrasekhar said.
Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta told The Indian Express that a review has been undertaken on creation of a third-tier of coastal security, in addition to the Navy and Coast Guards. The current plan envisages provision of a fleet of 208 new patrolling boats to sensitive coastal states, including Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Gupta said a process was being coordinated with the Ministry of Defence for purchase of three new aircraft by the Home Ministry — these will be used by paramilitary forces, including the NSG, for emergencies such as the Mumbai attacks.
These proposals are significant considering that the NSG has long demanded its own air-wing and a lot of time was taken to fly in commandos to Mumbai. The NSG, incidentally, has over 300 vacant posts.
“As far as the need for urgent transportation of paramilitary forces, including the NSG, to spots hit by terror attacks or natural disaster, the proposal is for purchase of one large aircraft like an IL-76 and two fixed wing aircraft,” Gupta said. “The need for decentralizing the NSG was felt so that the response time in commando deployment is cut down. Fresh recruitment is proposed for state commando units.”
He said he has been holding detailed reviews with state governments on a 2006 proposal for a third tier of coastal security which includes creation of 73 new coastal police stations. The scheme is expected to be fully implemented by 2009.
“Reviews of the scheme are being done on a regular basis. The Home Ministry has received updates that 55 of the 73 coastal police stations are either fully or partly operational. A review for Maharashtra has shown that eight of the 12 sanctioned new police stations are working now,” he said. “As far as patrol boats are concerned, after initially thinking of foreign purchases, the Home Ministry has given orders for the boats to be constructed at shipyards in Goa and Kolkata.”
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