Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday handed over letters of appointment of petroleum product dealerships to the families of five of the 18 security officers who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008.

He, however, was unhappy at the delay in clearing the “procedural bottlenecks” that have prevented six families from getting their letters of appointment. The delay, he said, was caused by difficulties in finalising the land for the project.

“I urge the Chief Minister to personally look into matter,” he said at a function organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas at the State guesthouse. “These are the people who laid down their lives. Why should we delay [the allocation of dealership] because of non-finalisation of land?”

The families of four martyrs had already been given their letters of appointment before the first anniversary of the attacks. In two cases, the CNG outlets would be commissioned by December. The family of one martyr had turned down the offer.

The families Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte, Sub-Inspector Prakash More and wireless operators Vijay Khandekar and Jayawant Patil who died in the firing near the Cama Hospital and Gajendra Singh, the National Security Guard (NSG) commando who died fighting at the Nariman House were awarded the dealership on Thursday.

Mr. Chavan expressed happiness at the increased strength of the Mumbai police, thanks to the modern weaponry the State government procured in the wake of the attacks last year.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, who hails from Mumbai, said that the proposal to offer dealerships to the families of the martyrs had come from the top ranks of the Mumbai police within days of the attack. The officers of Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum, Indian Oil Corporation and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation fully supported the proposal.

He said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi called to tell him that the government should do everything possible to help, after members of some of the martyrs’ families met her.