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How secure are our industrial establishments?

A spate of terror strikes in metros in recent months has sparked off security management as a key issue in boardrooms.

business Updated: Nov 27, 2008 15:53 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

A spate of terror strikes in metros in recent months has sparked off security management as a key issue in boardrooms. Experts say loose ends should be plugged to prevent the symbols of India’s economic prowess from falling prey to terrorist targets.

A recent survey carried out by the Mahindra Special Services Group showed that a majority of corporates (97 per cent) view security as an area of increasing priority in future.

However, very few corporates have taken any concrete steps to improve awareness about security and induce an appropriate mindset, the survey said.

Analysts said, private security agencies have a larger role to play in providing cover to industrial establishments, but opinion was divided on whether government forces should assume responsibility for security in their campuses.

“Handing over the task of security to government agencies would be a knee-jerk reaction,” said Mushtaq Khan, deputy director, environment & building technologies practice, for South Asia and the Middle East at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

The government has said it is open to allowing deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to guard corporate campuses that are largely protected by private security agencies.

A leading security industry official said a medium-sized corporation spends about Rs 7 crore annually on engaging the services of private security industry that is valued at about Rs 10,000 crore.
Security equipment companies said more needs to be done to make industrial establishments secure against terrorist strikes.

“To really secure our cities from terror threats we need to go beyond what we are doing today and invest in city surveillance systems on the lines of London and New York,” said Pramod Rao, managing director, Zicom Electronic Security Systems.

The Private Security Agency Regulation Act passed three years ago mandates that every guard would have to undergo at least 100 hours of training. There are about 5 million private guards in India.

Raghu Raman, CEO, Mahindra Special Services Group, which provides security service solutions to corporate entities, said corporations should become more aware about security concerns.

“The current framework of managing corporate security is fractured and many key functionaries seem to be living in a state of denial and ignorant of the heightened risks,” he said.

According to the spokesperson of a large Delhi-based private security agency that deploys about 150,000 of its trained guards across industrial establishments in the country, the company's recruits go through a rigorous training regimen before induction.