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CISF gearing up to guard VIPs

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, MARCH 14. Having ensconced itself in the field of airport security and disaster management, the Central Industrial Security Force is now gearing up for taking up the responsibility of VIP security as well, which it has started in small measures, but for taking up which at a large level it is awaiting the final nod of the Centre.

Speaking at a press conference on the eve of the 36th Raising Day of CISF, the Director General, K.M. Singh, today made out a strong case for giving this challenging job to the force saying "VIP security was on the anvil''. Noting that it was in June 2001 that the Group of Ministers had recommended that VIP security be given to a professionally trained force, he said CISF was best suited for it as it has been the pioneer in the field of industrial security.

The Government, he said, has in principle approved of the role for CISF and already the agency was providing security to nine VIPs and to specific groups like the victims of Gujarat violence for whom a court had issued directions. Mr Singh said after being told to prepare for the job in 2001, the force had trained a large number of men for the job. "The formatted major foray is due to take place next,'' he said.

However, on the proposed entry of CISF in highway security, Mr Singh said that it has been put on hold as though a pilot project was prepared along with the National Highway Authority of India and the force was equipped for the job, it was realised that law and order and traffic were responsibilities of the respective State Governments through which the highways passes and till the matter was resolved between NHAI and the State the project could not move forth.

Pointing out that gradually CISF -- which at the moment is providing security to 214 public sector undertakings and 47 airports -- is getting into newer areas of security such as sensitive government building, heritage sites like Red Fort and Taj Mahal, and Samadhi Complex in Delhi, Mr Singh said the emphasis is on strengthening the existing areas of operation. In the field of airport security, he said in the five years of operation the force has succeeded in preventing any major disaster. Also, the force is now making deep inroads in security consultancy services and its clients now include the British High Commission, the SEBI Headquarters in Mumbai, TISCO in Jamshedpur, ICICI Bank in Delhi and Karnataka Legislative Assembly in Bangalore.

Most importantly, he said, the force is seeking to bring about a major attitudinal change in the service. "Through polite service with a smile on the face, we seek to change the image of the police force where people see the force with a sense of respect''. In this respect, he said the airports where 11,700 men are posted have witnessed a major change.

"Since the average availability of Sub Inspectors and Inspectors on a whole is around 8 per cent to 12 per cent of the total strength, we had undertaken a major recruitment of these sub-level officers two years ago to raise the level to the required 27 per cent. Under the scheme 800 Sub Inspectors were recruited and 550 of them -- all graduates and post graduates -- passed out in November 2003 and were subsequently inducted at the airports.'' This move, Mr Singh said, has brought more politeness into the airport operations.

The Director General said CISF was also training and pre-positioning four companies for specialised intervention in the case of disasters and 20 of its officers have already undergone advanced training in the subject in the United States of America. Lauding the role played by the personnel during the tsunami disaster, in which the CISF team was the first to reach Port Blair, Mr Singh said the disaster Management Team had also played an important role during the foods in Assam in July last.

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