Safety not top priority for some RS MPs

The entry passes and identity of many RS MPs have been either stolen or lost.

Pankaj Sharma/ Zee Research Group

Displaying a less than cent per cent responsible approach towards their own safety and that of the Parliament, the number of security-cleared access tools of members of Rajya Sabha either lost or stolen is on the rise.

The number of such cases has risen from 136 in 2008 to 147 in 2010, according to information made available by Rajya Sabha Secretariat in response to an application under Right to Information (RTI) Act. This includes entry passes, identity cards and RF tags.

India witnessed an attack on its Parliament House in December 2001 and thereafter the Home Ministry put in place stringent measures to prevent any such attack in future. The attack on Parliament led to the death of nine security personnel while 16 others were injured in the attack.

According to figures provided by Parliament security and tabulated by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat a total of 395 crucial belongings required for gaining access to Parliament premises were either stolen or lost between 2008 and 2010. This included entry passes, parking labels, VIP tags, RF tags and other kinds of passes. However, not all of these were lost by members themselves.

A total of 131 cases of lost or stolen entry passes were reported during 2010 as against 118 in 2008. The number though fell to 104 in 2009. The number of visitors to Rajya Sabha has increased from 14780 in 2009 to 15286 in 2010. However, while the RF tags for individuals has increased from 213 in 2009 to 221 in 2010, RF tags for vehicles have gone down from 378 in 2009 to 173 in 2010.

Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Rajya Sabha Secretariat, AK Singh explained, “In case either an MP or staff of Rajya Sabha Secretariat loses his identity card the matter is brought to the notice of police and an FIR has to be lodged. Afterwards a request is made to Secretariat for issue of a new identity card and accordingly a new card is issued in his name.”

As per current norms, there is no provision of either fee or penalty on any MP if he loses his identity card, parking labels or RF tag. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat, however, refused to name any member who had lost the security tool. It merely said that one MP had lost more than once his or her access tool.

Expressing concern over the development, SS Ahluwalia, deputy leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha said, “This is a serious issue and one should take care of one’s belongings issued by Parliament. The rise in number of such cases is indeed worrying. Every member should be answerable.”

Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Janardan Dwivedi merely said, “One should take care when it comes to your access tools in Parliament.”

Security expert Kalim Bahadur said, “Security of Parliamentarians is a prime concern after what happened in 2001. Chairman of the House should take an early cognizance of the matter.”

A senior security official manning Parliament, however, asserted that enough checks and balances were in place to ensure there was no mishap. “Our security is very much under control of such situations. If any RF tags, entry pass and identity card were reported lost we take on a priority basis steps to inactive the card and issue the new one expeditiously.”

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