Two days before the first anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes, Maharashtra state's counter terror unit ‘Force One’, an elite force formed on the lines of National Security Guards (NSG), became operational here today.
Equipped with AK-47s and other advanced weaponry, the first batch of 216 commandos of the state's own specialised force demonstrated its counter-terrorism skills, including use of explosives, firing, effective communication during attacks, at SRPF training ground in suburban Goregaon.
The commandos have undergone rigorous training at the college of Military Engineering and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for about four months.
“The commandos will be provided all infrastructure which will enable them to be on par with international counter-terrorism units,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who laid the foundation stone of the Force One's headquarters, said.
“We will also study different kind of trainings imparted in foreign countries to their anti-terror forces and ensure that such training reaches our commandos,” he said.
Force One was formed to reduce the response time in case of terror attacks as it took nine hours for the NSG to fly to Mumbai to take charge of the troubled sites during 26/11 terror attacks in the city.
"If the law and order in the state derails, then the development work also gets affected. Thus whatever we are spending on police force, we are considering it as a state developmental expenditure," Chavan said. He assured that fresh family welfare measures for the state police force will also be introduced soon.
The CM also asked the Home Ministry to frame a policy to fill up the shortage of police residential quarters in the state. Home Minister R R Patil said the government had a firm stand that there was a need of elite commando at the state level also and it was ready within a year of 26/11. Force One chief S Jaganathan said that about 100 acre of plot has been given where the force will be trained.
The commandos of the first batch have been divided into three groups, said Jaganathan, who is also Additional Deputy IG and added that while one group remains alert, one practices and the third takes rest.
"We had received about 3,000 applications from state police force, who volunteered to be part of the force. After initial training, many were not up to the mark. Finally, 261 personnel were shortlisted and imparted commando training," he said.