The Centre has received requests from many leading private companies for deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Monday.

Laying the foundation stone for 4th Reserve Battalion Headquarters of the CISF at Amaravathi Pudur near Karaikudi, he said the new provision to use the force for safeguarding the assets of private companies on cost basis was introduced last year and had received good response.

The CISF had been deployed on the premises of a few companies, including Infosys. Many companies had lined up to receive its services, which were in great demand as threat perception to public and private sector companies, airports, seaports and atomic installations had increased.

Airports, which were handled by one or two police personnel about 20 years ago, had to be manned by a large number of professionally trained CISF guards.

The government planned to recruit thousands of personnel to the CISF shortly.

Commending the services of the force, Mr. Chidambaram said when a large number of naxalites attacked an aluminium plant in Orissa last year, CISF personnel not only safeguarded the property but also killed around 300 Maoists while losing just 10 personnel.

The Minister added that it was important to safeguard vital installations, infrastructure and other important assets. Besides safeguarding the infrastructure of public sector undertakings, the need had been felt for protecting private infrastructure too. Youngsters should come forward to join security forces, including CRPF, CISF, BSF and others.

There were 1.22 lakh CISF personnel, who were providing security at 290 places.

Thanking Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for speedy steps to allot 102 acres for establishing the reserve battalion at Amaravathi Pudur, Mr. Chidambaram said it would have all facilities, including those for training.

N.R. Das, Director-General, CISF, said it would cost Rs.250 crore for constructing administrative building, quarters, barracks, firing range, parade ground and other facilities.

The CISF was providing security at NLC, Kalpakkam atomic centre and airports in Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchi and other places in Tamil Nadu.