Setting up regional hubs will take time: NSG chief (Interview)

December 29th, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) It will take “some time” to set up four regional National Security Guard (NSG) hubs in the country, a demand sparked off by the Mumbai attacks, says J.K. Dutt, chief of the elite anti-terror force.”Setting up NSG hubs in four states is our utmost priority and it will take some time. I cannot really comment when these centres would start functioning,” NSG director general Dutt told IANS in an interview.

The government has said these regional centres will come up in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad to enable quick mobilisation of troops in hostile situations like 26/11. Currently the NSG is headquartered in Delhi, with its training cente in nearby Manesar, Haryana.

“This process would begin by identifying the suitable land in the states. As per my knowledge, the home secretary has already begun the exercise by initiating talks with the chief secretaries of the states,” Dutt said.

The NSG would require at least 1,000 acres of land in each state to function.

“Once land is identified, our team from Delhi will visit the site to check the feasibility. The team will check if training facilities, firing ranges and other infrastructure related to administration and transport can be set up there.”

The NSG is manned by army and central paramilitary force personnel. Asked if it would be viable to pull out more manpower from these staff-crunched forces for the proposed NSG units, Dutt said it was for the government to decide how to fill the vacancies.

He refused to comment on how much additional manpower would be required to start the regional centres.

At present, the NSG has only the training centre at Manesar in Gurgaon.

The force, which was created in 1984, came into the limelight during the Mumbai attack. The NSG’s elite black cat commandos gunned down eight terrorists - of the nine killed - at the Taj and Oberoi hotels and Nariman House. They rescued many hostages in the operation that lasted nearly 60 hours.

However, the centre faced flak as the NSG commandos took nearly seven hours to reach Mumbai from Delhi. By that time, the terrorists had already taken strong positions at various locations.

In the aftermath of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that the government would set up four NSG hubs in different parts of the country.

Dutt said the government had assured him that whatever resources were required to create these hubs would be made available to them.

But what has concerned the NSG the most is that it would need to induct at least 4,000 personnel from the Indian Army and the central paramilitary forces to man the new regional centres. Already, 300 posts in the NSG are lying vacant in the 7,500 strong force, according to NSG sources.

The army contributes around 140 officers, 520 JCOs, and 3,800 soldiers to the NSG. The Special Action Group (SAG) of the NSG, tasked with anti-terrorism operations, is exclusively manned by army personnel on deputation.

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