Armed commandos to take over from a ragtag group of security personnel

The India Trade Promotion Organisation is not taking any chances with the security of Pragati Maidan and has asked the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to secure the exhibition ground where annual events such as the India International Trade Fair (IITF) and the New Delhi World Book Fair are held.

Pragati Maidan is located in the heart of the Capital and buildings in this high-security zone are protected by the CISF.

At the moment, the exhibition ground is manned by a ragtag group of security personnel.

ITPO chairperson Rita Menon said armed commandos will be deployed at the 124-acre exhibition ground soon.

Ms. Menon said: “Many public service undertakings have hired the services of CISF. It is a highly professional force which can look into various dimensions of security. This compact force will be deployed at Pragati Maidan by September-end. We receive about 1.6 million visitors during IITF. Therefore, we need a modern paramilitary force and the deployment of CISF will definitely bring in more professionalism”.

Threat perception

On the threat perception to exhibitors, particularly entrepreneurs from Pakistan, China and Israel, Ms. Menon said as of now there has been no terrorist threat but ITPO officials have to keep their eyes peeled and cannot become complacent.

“Apart from Pakistani and other foreign exhibitors, we also have to look at the security concerns of our domestic exhibitors and buyers during events like the New Delhi World Book Fair and the ongoing India International Printing and Packaging Fair. The CISF will be based here permanently.”

The ITPO chairperson said she was clueless as to why a modern security force was not introduced earlier. She said the move to deploy CISF comes as ITPO personnel are nearing retirement age.

“We are facing lot of attrition as far as security guards are concerned. As a number of our personnel at ITPO have retired, we are looking into the new format with all seriousness. Those who are nearing retirement age will be accommodated at other places,” she said.

Meanwhile, the CISF will survey the area and then deploy its personnel at strategic locations at the exhibition ground.

However, the force will not guard all exhibitors and halls from thefts and pilferage.

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