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Following the death of rural development minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident, Union home ministry has asked all stakeholders to look for more secure vehicles, skilled drivers and assertive personal security officers (PSOs) for government protected persons, sources told HT.
Munde, 64, was on his way to the airport on June 3 when his Maruti SX4 car collided with another vehicle, seriously injuring him. An hour later, the senior BJP leader died in the hospital.
“After his death, the home ministry reviewed the incident and flagged more than a dozen issues to all stakeholders — states and central security forces involved in the protection duties — to make road travel of protected persons safer,” said a home ministry official requesting anonymity.
The ministry is also looking at the prospect of getting such drivers trained from specialised agencies like the Special Protection Group (SPG) or the National Security Guard (NSG).
“A skilled driver trained by the SPG or NSG according to the security norms can be very helpful in avoiding any road accident,” said the official.
At the moment there are no uniform norms for buying vehicles for protected persons that include almost all Union ministers.
“Before such norms are put in place, we have asked the all concerned agencies to get install air bags in the back seats as well. Munde was at the back seat when his car collided with another vehicle,” said the official.
The ministry also wants better informed PSOs, who can tell the protectee that he needs to inform his travel plans well in advance for adequate arrangements to be made.
“Most importantly, the PSO must always remain with the protected person and should not get involved with any other work,” added the official.