The National Security Guards (NSG) took eight hours to reach Mumbai when terrorists struck on November 26, 2008.
Looking at this time lag as a drawback, the government decided that the elite commando force would move out of its headquarters of 25 years —Manesar in Haryana — and set up four hubs across the country to ensure faster response in case of a terror attack.
But it now looks like NSG commandos deployed at Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai will have to wait for a year even for basic training and operational facilities to be built for them.
Arup Roy Choudhury, chairman and managing director of National Building Construction Company (NBCC) — entrusted with the task to build four self-sufficient hubs for the NSG — confirmed the delay to Hindustan Times.
“The hubs with all the facilities will be completed only by February 2011.”
Until then, the NSG commandos will have to stay in prefabricated barracks, provided by the NBCC. The commandos, however, will not have any training and operational facilities.
“The NSG commandos will have a place to stay. But how will they train and operate?” a state police officer asked, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. Hindustan Times had, on October 11, reported that the state police had asked the NSG to pay Rs 1,200 per hour if it wants to use its firing range at the State Reserve Police Force’s, Group VIII headquarters at Goregaon.
NSG commandos require specialised facilities to perform rigorous drills everyday to maintain their fitness and preparedness.
On June 30, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, while inaugurating the first hub at Mumbai, said that all the four hubs would be operational by November.
The situation in Mumbai, which witnessed the terror attacks, is the worst.
The 23-acre land allotted to the NSG at Marol has been encroached upon.
“Authorities in Mumbai are yet to clear the land. I believe the authorities have given a deadline of October 31 for the private firm (encroaching upon the land) to vacate it,” said Choudhury.
But the state government has asked the 250 NSG commandos to move out of their temporary base at Kalina by November 15.
This means NBCC will be left with only 15 days to erect the pre-cast barracks for the commandos to stay. This, said the NBCC, is not enough.
“We will be able to provide the barracks only by the end of November or by early December,” said Choudhury.