The state government is looking to set up a ‘cohesive structure’ headed by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to improve policing in Maharashtra.
Chavan would prefer a cabinet sub-committee or a small group of ministers to direct modernisation of the police force and keep an eye on the overall security situation, said sources close to the chief minister.
Chavan was likely to speak to Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar to work things out between the allies as, under the power-sharing arrangement, the NCP holds the Home portfolio. He may also consult former Chief Ministers.
“Chavan has said security has not been on the agenda in the cabinet meetings since he took over as CM. He also believes it is difficult to discuss security issues, which are generally technical, with a group of as many as 40 ministers,’’ said a senior official in the Chief Minister’s Office.
Chavan had said in interviews last week that home portfolio should not have been given to the NCP, though he had clarified that he had full faith in Home Minister RR Patil.
Chavan had recently admitted to procedural problems in buying equipment and improving facilities for the police. The sources said his view was decisions had to be taken at the political and not administrative level to cut through the red tape.
On Sunday, the chief minister himself told the media: “The state had formed a state security council and a state security commission for taking the security agenda forward after the 26/11 attacks. We have to see how to take that forward or have some kind of alternative, more cohesive structure. Our main worry now is how to prevent another such attack and we are looking at all possible solutions.’’
“We are looking at upgrading communication networks in Mantralaya by buying satellite phones, upgrading wireless systems, and purchasing better radio frequency channels. I will also take a meeting soon to finalise purchase of CCTVs for Mumbai. I think they will be of help in deterring such attacks and in detection. This has been the case in London.’’
He may hold a meeting on Monday on buying 5,000 CCTV cameras for Mumbai. In a bid to attract better talent to intelligence postings, Chavan is also looking at better remuneration for these jobs and making such a stint mandatory for promotions.