Paramilitary force CISF has started providing full-time security cover to yoga guru Ramdev’s food park in Haridwar and deployed close to three dozen armed commandos at the facility.
Officials said a contingent of 34 commandos, under the charge of an assistant commandant-rank officer, took charge at the facility on March 22 following union home ministry’s order for 24X7 security deployment early this year.
Such security cover has so far been extended by the Centre to only a handful of private entities such as Infosys.
Senior officials said Patanjali Food and Herbal Park Private Limited has provided the logistics, including barracks for accommodating the personnel as part of the “fully paid” deployment.
Officials had earlier said expenditure on security deployment at the multi-acre food park was estimated at around Rs 40 lakh per annum and all logistical facilities like barracks, armoury and vehicles will be provided for by the “client”.
A contingent of the Central Industrial Security Force had been deployed at the facility in the middle of last year for “temporary” security duty after protests erupted there and, early this year, the home ministry ordered “permanent” deployment of the force in view of potential security threats to it.
Full-time CISF cover is accorded by the central government very sparingly to the private sector and it is eighth such deployment.
The paramilitary was first mandated for such task in the private sector in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Ramdev, a yoga exponent who has set up a business empire worth thousands of crores of rupees in personal care and food products sector, is himself a ‘Z’ category protectee of central paramilitary forces.
The sophisticated weapons-toting CISF commando squad has been deployed on a ‘quick reaction team’ pattern which entails stationing them at vantage positions in the facility. The teams react like they would in the wake of any terrorist attack or sabotage.
The routine entry to and exit from the facility will be regulated by the staff and private security hired by Patanjali.
A security and intelligence audit had earlier found that the food park faced threat as it was visited by tourists, both foreign and domestic, and was vulnerable from the point of view of local law and order disturbances as witnessed in June last year.
CISF was tasked to secure private sector entities after the government brought an amendment to the Act post 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
The other seven concerns in the private sector guarded by the CISF are Electronics City Bengaluru, Infosys campuses in Bengaluru, Mysore and Pune, Reliance Refinery and Petrochemicals in Jamnagar, Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd project executed by the Tata group in Mundra and the Tata Steel project based in Odisha’s Kalinganagar.