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Special forces to guard industrial houses in Assam
K Anurag in Guwahati | February 06, 2008 09:29 IST
The Assam government has decided to raise two special security forces for the protection of industrial houses and their installations against the threat from militants.
The state has numerous installations of oil giants Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGCL), Oil India Limited (OIL), besides those of the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), and the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO).
The state has the responsibility of protecting over 800 tea estates that stand vulnerable to insurgents, as many of these are located in far-flung areas where presence of the police and security forces is skeletal.
A highly placed source in the Assam home department has said that the proposed special forces would be called the Assam Industrial Security Force and the ONGC [Get Quote] Security Force. The state cabinet has already given its nod for these two forces considering the ground realities in the state.
These two forces will be as well equipped and trained as any other armed Assam police battalion. Some of the suitable personnel from the now defunct Assam Tea Plantation Protection Force will be inducted into the proposed AISF, which will focus on protecting tea estates in the state, besides other industrial houses.
However, deployment of the AISF will come at a cost for the industrial houses and tea companies. They will have to pay to utilise the services of the special government security forces that will operate under the state director general of civil defence and home guards.
The state will raise one battalion of the ONGC Security Force with 1,250 personnel for deployment in vulnerable drilling sites and other installations of the oil giant against payment. The force personnel will also be available for other industrial houses.
The state police force, which is heavily burdened with insurgency-related responsibilities, is running short of adequate number of personnel to look after proper security of the industrial houses and tea estates in the state.
The raising of the two special security forces is part of a two-pronged strategy of the Assam government to fight the insurgents as well as to open up job avenues for unemployed youth who stand vulnerable for recruitment by insurgent groups.