Monday, November 23, 2009

State in much better situation to handle terror attacks: R R Patil

Express News Service Posted online: Tuesday , Nov 24, 2009 at 0053 hrs

Mumbai : Close to a year after 26/11, Home Minister R R Patil on Monday said that the state government, learning from its past mistakes, has implemented several measures to increase the state police’s capacity to counter any similar incidents. A revamp of state intelligence machinery and cyber surveillance has also been given attention, Patil said addressing a seminar on terror preparedness organised by the Mumbai Police at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Nariman Point.
“Taking into account the importance of intelligence gathering, the intelligence machinery has been strengthened. The first batch of dedicated intelligence officers trained by the Maharashtra Intelligence Academy is already on the job while the next batch is being trained,” he said.

“We have created a new post of Director General of Police, in charge of the Anti Terrorism Squad, the Force One and the Anti Naxal Operations. About 15,000 new recruits will be added to the state police force this year. Bomb disposal capabilities, CCTVs and coastal security have been strengthened. Funds are being made available at highest priority level, and procedural delays are being addressed. I have great confidence in the ability of my police force to deliver,” Patil said.

Acting Director General of Police A N Roy and Mumbai Police Commissioner D Sivanandhan convened the seminar. Also on the panel were retired Director General of Police (Punjab) K P S Gill, Director General of Police (J &K) Dr Ashok Bhan, executive director of the Institute of Conflict Management Dr Ajai Sahni and associate editor of The Hindu Praveen Swami.

Outlining some of the capacity-building measures of the Mumbai Police, Sivanandan said, “We have Quick Response Teams in each of the five police regions in the city, 39 combat vehicles, 585 men with GPS sets, 13 units of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, and 900 beat marshals. Besides this, there is the National Security Guard’s Mumbai hub, and Force One is being unveiled tomorrow. New weapons, bullet-proof boats, and amphibious sea legs have also been procured.”

According to the Police Commissioner, rehearsals of the Standard Operating Procedure have been conducted, and 1,000 CCTV cameras would soon be installed in important places across the city. The Mumbai Police Control Room is being upgraded at a cost of Rs 2 crore, and executive health check-ups have been lined up for the entire force at a cost of Rs 6.5 crore. New gyms have also been set up at 12 police stations, and several citizens networking initiatives have been undertaken.

Gill stressed on the need to strengthen the police stations “as it was the basic unit of policing.” He also spoke on the need to treat policemen better, and to develop political consensus to fight terror.

Speaking about the situation in Jammu&Kashmir, Bhan said, “After the 26/11 attack, focus on J&K has again increased as infiltration has picked up,” Bhan pointed out.

Sahni spoke on the need to crackdown on all forms of crime, however insignificant they may seem, in order to eradicate the threat of terrorism.

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