On the morning of November 27, 2008, when the Special Action Group of the National Security Guards (NSG) were handed a blueprint of the Hotel Taj Palace and Towers, it did not make the operation easy for them.
The blueprint did not explain minute details of the iconic structure. Time was lost as the crack team had to search for an architect.
Eight months after 26/11, Mumbai got its own hub of the elite commando force on June 30. But carrying out a simple reconnaissance is riddled with hurdles.
The NSG team has been sanctioned only 200 litres of fuel a month which is not sufficient to cover the length and breadth of the metropolis. The Maruti Gypsy allotted to it has a mileage of 5 km per litre.
Every day they have to travel at least 32 km from their base at Santacruz to Colaba.
The police sources say if the NSG has to move around the city every day, they will run out of the sanctioned fuel in a fortnight. And even if they reach the installations, police sources say, the team will face a fresh set of problems. This is because the state government is yet to issue a circular that would allow the NSG to conduct a reconnaissance of an installation on its own.
SS Virk, director general of police, said he was not aware of any such notification. “I’ll have to check and let you know if there is one,” he said.
Till this happens, the NSG has to rely on the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS). KP Raghuvanshi, additional director general of police (ATS), said: “We don’t require permission from anybody. We are working together with the NSG.”
Not a happy situation for the NSG considering that it would not want to reveal details gathered. A former NSG guard and serving army officer, requesting anonymity, said: “One of the major reasons is that operational secrecy is of utmost importance for a commando force.”