Almost two years after home minister P Chidambaram announced a National Security Guard (NSG) hub in Mumbai to strengthen national security after the 26/11 terror attacks, the hub is nowhere near completion.
While the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) sources said it would take at least two months for the hubs to be ready with all comprehensive facilities, NSG sources said apart from housing facilities, the hubs are still a long way from completion.
When the Hindustan Times visited the site at Marol, the hub did not even have a proper gate, and was barricaded with bamboo sticks. Also, there was no proper road laid from the gate to the hub, and even the guardroom at the entrance lacked basic facilities.
“At the moment, it’s a far cry from what an ideal hub for NSG commandos should be,” said an Army officer, requesting anonymity.
The original plan was for all hubs to have a regional office building, which would take care of all requirements for NSG contingents at the hub. The office, according to the officer was necessary, as it would include housing of arms and ammunition, and other tactical equipment the NSG requires to deal with contingencies. A firing range, a physical training ground, swimming pool and gymnasium were the other facilities NSG had drafted for the hubs. “None of these have come up, and we still have to rely on facilities used by state forces,” the officer added.
A review meeting chaired by the home minister was held recently, in which all agencies related to NSG hubs participated. “What we now know is that our firing ranges will not be ready even by April,” the officer added. The firing range forms a vital part of an NSG commando’s training as it has specific drills chalked to handle different situations.
The NBCC now states that the work was carried out in two phases. Phase I consisted of pre-fabricated buildings with services, which have been completed and are being used by the NSG in all hubs from January 2010.
Phase II consists of permanent structures like barracks, AC mess, officers’ mess, various quarters, guard rooms and so on. “The NBCC has already completed the assigned work in Kolkata and Hyderabad. In Mumbai and Chennai, AC mess, officers' mess, guard room and so on have been completed,” said NBCC executive director AK Mittal, responsible for construction of NSG hubs, adding that only the value additions remained.
NBCC officials said features like firing range or swimming pool would be added as and when the NSG demanded it.