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No consensus on security plan even a month after Mumbai attacks

Sapna Agarwal  |  Mumbai 

A month after the November 26 terror attacks in Mumbai that claimed at least 183 lives and injured more than 300 people, the state and the national governments have still not arrived at a consensus for implementation of a comprehensive security solution plan. It will be another four to six months before any implementation of security solutions take place, say experts.

Despite the country being repeatedly subjected to terror attacks, “Implementation of security solutions has still not got an emergency status by the national government. As such, even at the state level, there is no rush to approve or implement security measures and it will be 4-6 months before any implementation of security solutions take place,” said Pramoud Rao, president, Fire and Safety Association of Industries (FSAI) and managing director, Zicom.

“Apart from one per cent of the government being aware of the importance of putting in place a comprehensive security solution, the overall outlook of the government has not changed. Even though key government officials are interested in effecting a change, the government still lacks in implementation,” said internet security expert and Ficci security committee head Vijay Mukhi.

On its part, after the attacks on November 26, the Maharashtra government has sanctioned Rs 126 crore for modernisation and upgradation of the police force. The state has also decided to step up on the vigil along the state's 750 kilometre sea coast by purchasing 36 speed boat. And it also plans to raise a special force called Force One on the lines of National Security Guards (NSG), which will be equipped with choppers for quick response in the case of terror attack.

The plans also include creation of separate cadre for state intelligence bureau (SIB), which will help to nip the future terror attacks in the bud. At present, police personnel and officers from regular police force are sent on deputation in the SIB and neither these officers are trained in intelligence gathering nor do they have inclination for the job.

The implementation, state Home Minister Jayant Patil affirms requires time. “Of the 36 speed boats, the first 12 will be delivered only by end of March,” says Patil and adds, “It will require some time to equip the state police force with the latest MP5 German assault rifles (an order for 250 numbers has been placed), night vision equipment and other modern gadgetry.”

However, “The government has not even made an head way with basic solutions like creating a crack commando force in the city, purchasing of satellite phone monitoring software, mobile phone interception software or even tabling the disaster recovery plan, which has been under discussion since 26/7 (Mumbai floods),” point out experts.

And it is not only the government that is slackening in its attitude, “The overall implementation of security solutions even by companies is an half-baked effort, as they are installing state-of-the-art infrastructure but are not providing the staff with proper training,” said Mukhi.

Likewise, after a month of active public interest and display of angst against the government and the repeated terrorist attacks, “The public interest has again dwindled and the state of affairs is returning to normalcy,” said Rao.

First Published: Sat, December 27 2008. 00:00 IST