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India Inc wants terror shield

Luxury hotels, tony malls, entertainment hubs and even banks across the country now want quick-fix anti-terror solutions from their security providers.

business Updated: Dec 02, 2008 21:16 IST
Zia Haq

Luxury hotels, tony malls, entertainment hubs and even banks across the country now want quick-fix anti-terror solutions from their security providers.

“As the siege on Mumbai weighs heavily on their minds, jittery clients have asked private security agencies to specifically address terror strikes,” said Kanwar Vikram Singh, head of the Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI), the apex alliance of private securers. “Six of our biggest clients have asked us to re-audit their security needs to thwart terror attacks. One of them is a 5-star hotel in Delhi.” Singh owns a security agency called Lancers in Delhi.

“Nearly 500 of our corporate clients wanted terror protection,” said Ramesh Iyer, executive director of the Mumbai-based Tops Security Ltd. The company has 45,000 personnel employed countrywide.

Asked what kind of anti-terror solutions could be expected, Iyer said bomb-detection kits, executive protection, bullet-proofing of installations and vigilance staff, apart from guards, could be offered for terror protection.

He said there was a lot of “confusion” as to what clients specifically wanted but his company would draw in the expertise of four former army brigadiers, one major-general and 15 colonels on board to formulate a terror-protection package.

Singh said though the corporate clients wanted overnight solutions, new measures were possible only after fresh risk evaluation.

Both security agencies declined to name their clients who wanted terror protection but said they are mostly hotels, banks and malls.

“Going by the urgency, Indian companies, it seems, are finally looking at security as an investment rather than cost,” Singh said.

According to CAPSI, private securers have an annual turnover of Rs 4,000 crore, which will now go up dramatically as new measures are initiated.

Indian private security agencies together employ about 55 lakh personnel and the home ministry has set up a committee to look into ways of associating them in intelligence-sharing, Singh said.