Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today approved a proposal of the state police to set up an elite specially trained Special Protection Group (SPG) to deal with any terror attack and other threats in the state which shares border with Pakistan. "The contours of the proposed SPG, a small but effective 270-member young and dynamic team, were discussed at a meeting chaired by the chief minister," an official spokesperson said here. The SPG will be set up, with a clear mandate to neutralise armed aggressors and to combat terrorism, besides infiltration, hijacking, hostage-taking and other sensitive threat situations. The chief minister had also suggested that a small core team from the SPG could be sent to Israel for the latest and state-of-the-art counter insurgency training. According to the proposal discussed during the meeting, the SPG would be headed by an ADGP rank official with an IG and a DIG rank officer to assist him. The SPG would be divided into three teams, headed by a SP rank officer who would be of less than 35 years of age.
The DSP rank officers in the team would be younger than 30 years and ORs would be in the age group of 18-25 years, the spokesperson said. These teams would specialise in tackling different situations and would be trained both by the army and the NSG. Amarinder said the process to identify officers and personnel for the SPG, who would be drawn from various police departments should commence immediately. In order to attract the best talent, personnel and officers who join the SPG would be paid higher risk, ration and other allowances, besides being given an insurance cover of Rs one crore each, spokesperson said. Officials who attended the meeting said the SPG would have a clear mandate to neutralise armed aggressors and to respond to 'fidayeen' attacks, armed infiltration, hostage situations, hijacking and assault on vital installations. The chief minister was briefed that the force would have a recurring expenditure of Rs 5.7 crore a year, which amounts to less than Rs 50 lakhs a month. Notably, in recent times, Punjab had witnessed two terror attacks in 2015 and 2016. In the first attack, three heavily-armed terrorists wearing army fatigues, had stormed a police station in Dinanagar town of Gurdaspur district in July 2015 killing seven persons, including a Superintendent of Police, before they were gunned down during a day-long operation. In the second attack, four terrorists who had sneaked in from across the border had attacked the Pathankot air base on the intervening night of January 1 and 2 last year, claiming the lives of seven security personnel.
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