New Delhi: West Bengal`s loss could well be Gujarat`s gain.
The country`s elite counter-terror force NSG has decided to have a large commando base in Gujarat after it failed to set up such a centre in West Bengal.
The central government has accorded an `in principle` approval to a request made by the Gujarat government to set up a regional centre of the National Security Guard (NSG) in the state which will cover the entire western and northern flank of the country.
Sources said the force is now scouting for almost 600 acres of land in Gujarat and a final decision will be taken once the NSG headquarters in Delhi finds a suitable base in the state.
"Meetings between NSG and Gujarat government authorities are on," the sources said.
The `black cat` commando force, in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had planned to get two large regional centres in Hyderabad and Kolkata for stationing more than 5,000 personnel each for operational and logistical purposes during terror attack like emergencies.
While the NSG got a 600-acre plot in Hyderabad for the purpose, it had to contend with only 34.31 acres of land at Badu, near Kolkata, for the same centre.
"Since the West Bengal regional centre did not turn out as large as it was expected, the centre is now planned in Gujarat. If all goes well, NSG will station 5,150 personnel there," an official privy to the development said.
An NSG regional centre will have all the training and combat exercise facilities for the counter-terror and counter-hijack crack commandos of the force, which are at present only available at its centre in Manesar in Gurgaon.
The NSG, in absence of the desired land in West Bengal,
had also curtailed its plan to induct the sanctioned number of personnel (5,150) as the Kolkata regional centre could only house 460 personnel on the about 35-acre land against the proposed plan.
Once the Gujarat regional centre plan gets a green signal, the NSG will be effectively able to command the western flank of the country which is at present being looked after by the Mumbai based hub.
According to the post-2008 Mumbai attack plan of the Union government, the NSG has got four new hubs across the country at Marol (23 acres) in Mumbai, Nedunkundram (85 acres) in Chennai, Trimulghery (22 acres) in Hyderabad and Badu (20 acres) in Kolkata.