The deployment of the first batch of Force One —Maharashtra’s homegrown counter-insurgency force — has been deferred by three weeks.
As per the original schedule, the first batch of 216 commandos was supposed to have been deployed in Mumbai by October 10 after the completion of their training in Pune. The training has been going on for the last six months.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the special forces, S. Jagannathan told Hindustan Times on Wednesday that the delay in the Mumbai induction occurred on account of an exigency. “They are in the last stage of a special training. That is the reason why their deployment has been delayed,” Jagannathan said.
However, highly placed sources in the state Home Department told Hindustan Times that the reason for the delay in deployment was more a political issue than a training requirement.
Sources said the police department was waiting for the swearing-in of the new government and distribution of portfolios. Once the new home minister takes charge, he will be called to the induction ceremony, the sources said, adding that the event would be the first high profile PR exercise for the department and its officials.
The force will stay put at Kalina before being moved to a new headquarters at Goregaon, which will be completed in a year’s time.
The proposed 30-acre Goregaon special operations HQ to be built beside the SRP group VIII HQ will be shared by the Force One and the National Security Guard contingent.
Force One has been designed as a self-sufficient unit, with its own transport, even including ambulances. The commandos have been equipped with weapons of different calibre, including assault rifles, communication sets, snipers, night vision devices besides protective gear.
“They will also be equipped with breaching equipment, climbing gadgets besides using light explosives as and when required,” Jagannathan said. The total strength of the force has been fixed at 450.