The Delhi Metro, the Indian capital's pride, will get an exclusive security force of over 1,600 men and women to prevent terror attacks similar to the Mumbai train bombings.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had been repeatedly seeking such a force for four long years. The home ministry woke up and hurriedly gave the green signal after the July 11 Mumbai carnage that claimed nearly 200 lives and injured over 700.
"We have been demanding a separate force for the security of the metro. After four years the government has sanctioned a separate force," said a top CISF official.
The new force will have 1,633 men and women who would get specialised training to guard the rapidly expanding metro network, which some feel could be a target of terrorists.
The Delhi Metro has 58 stations and a rail network of 62 km at present. Some 475,000 people use the sleek world-class transport system every day. In a few more years, it will cover almost the entire city.
"The process of recruitment started soon after we received the orders earlier this month," the official said. The recruitment and training process would take at least a year and a half.
Initially, when the CISF was called in to take control of the Delhi Metro's security, "we had demanded a strength of 3,000 personnel but the government did not take the required steps to strengthen the force," said the official.
"It was only after the multiple blasts in Mumbai that an urgent meeting was called by the ministry and the government agreed to form a dedicated force," the official added.
The four-year delay was probably due to the added financial burden on the government. The Mumbai attacks made the authorities realise the urged need for a specialised force.
"The new force would be divided into different categories - the officers would be trained for 54 weeks and constables for 30 weeks."
The new recruits would also learn from CISF personnel already protecting the Delhi Metro.
"The main point is to spot suspicious people and keep a strict watch at the entry and exit gates of stations," the official explained.
Officials said they were also planning to set up a biometric mechanism at the metro stations to keep a check on the personnel.
"These devices would recognise only the fingerprints of the personnel who access the control system of the metro."
The Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) refused to comment on the new force. "Since it is a government decision, we would not like to comment," said one official.