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Mumbai NSG centre work to start soon, says CM

January 23, 2009 12:10 IST

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With about 1,000 acres of land already identified on the outskirts of the city, work on setting up the regional centre of National Security Guards in Mumbai [Images] will start in two to three months, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan [Images] has said.

"The work on setting up the regional centre of NSG would begin in two to three months as about 1,000 acres of land on the outskirts of the city has already been identified," Chavan said at a citizen's interaction meeting on Friday in suburban Mumbai.

The State Security Guards would also be set up in three months, Chavan said. The process for direct recruitment by the police force has already begun. Besides this, recruitment has also begun in the state intelligence unit, he said.

The chief minister said he had sanctioned Rs 127 crore for procurement of equipment for the police department. "Permission for import of the weapons has also been acquired from the Centre," he added.

He, however, said VIP security in Maharashtra was being reviewed and would be scaled down wherever not required, adding that celebrities would have to hire their own security without depending only on the government.

"I have asked the Home Minister to review the security to VIPs and if the threat perception is less, it would be scaled down," Chavan said, adding "Some require security due to the threat to their lives. But it is not the case with everyone."

Chavan said that he had requested the Centre to allow visiting VIPs in the state to use a helicopter to reduce the burden on policemen who had to be put on bandobast duty.

"Even the people face difficulties due to traffic halts," the chief minister said.

He said during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] visit to Mumbai last week, he had traveled from the airport to South Mumbai in a naval helicopter.

"While returning, the PM had to use the road as helicopter take-offs at night are not permitted. The traffic was halted for 15 minutes to facilitate the PM to pass the area. However, some people protested against the delay due to which the PM's cavalcade at Haji Ali was stopped. I felt bad and apologised to the PM," he said.

Referring to the incident, the chief minister said, it is necessary for citizens to understand the circumstances and co-operate accordingly, adding, "Security is not just the responsibility of the government."

He said the current strength of the state police was 1.82 lakh with 33,000 personnel being recruited in the past three years.

He said the Group of Ministers set up to look into police reforms, headed by deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal [Images], will give its suggestions in a month's time and they would be adapted immediately.

In terms of security, it has been decided that sea operations would be handled by the Central government and land operations by the state government, he said.

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