Six years after the National Security Guards (NSG) got permanently stationed in Marol, the place will soon get an underground indoor firing facility. Personnel of the elite commando force have been travelling 23km, to the Pokhran firing range in Thane since 2009, for their regular practice sessions — a time consuming affair considering the distance and city’s traffic.
Although operational for more than six years, the Marol base still does not have a firing range as it is located in the midst of a thickly populated area and there is always the danger of bullets making their way into residential complexes. The next best option for the NSG was the State Reserve Police Force’s (SRPF) state-of–the-art firing range at Jogeshwari, but that was not made available to the force.
While the construction of the underground indoor firing range has already started, the chances of it running into a roadblock can’t be ruled out, considering the water table of the land, which houses the hub, is pretty high, said sources in the ministry of home affairs (MHA).
“We know that the water table is high and adequate measures will be taken while constructing the firing range. The work on the firing range is in progress and it will take a few months more to finish,” said an MHA official.
The base at Marol in Andheri is on a 23-acre land given by the Maharashtra government and has been built by the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC). The construction work, including the residential structures and other requirements for the NSG commandos, was divided into two phases.
The first phase was completed two years ago where the residential building, conference hall and a few other basic facilities were built by the NBCC. The second phase started last year in which the construction work of the firing range is happening.
But several other facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts are still pending.
Sources said the plan to construct a swimming pool has been shelved, as the quality of the soil might not be conducive to building one. The force might have to continue practicing in the hired facility of a private establishment, said sources.
Mumbai became the first city to have a NSG base after the 26/11 terror attacks. Initially, around 250 commandos were posted in Mumbai, but last year the number was upped to 400.