No land for NSG base in West Bengal
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 06, 2011, 15:42
  
New Delhi: The Centre's decision to position the elite NSG 'black cat' commandos in Kolkata to deal with any possible terror attack has come to a nought with the West Bengal government expressing its "inability" to the Home Ministry to provide suitable land for the base.

The West Bengal government's stand stifled efforts of the last two years of the Home Ministry and NSG officials who have been regularly touring the state as part of the plan to establish a 300-acre regional centre there.

Disappointed by the turn of events, top sources said the Centre was mulling moving out a 90-acre NSG hub already existing in Kolkata to another state.

"The government may also plan to shift the hub from Kolkata to another place," they said.

The decision to deploy commandos at strategic locations in the country and reduce their 'strike time' for conducting "swift" anti-terror and counter-hijack operations was taken in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

The Union Home Ministry in an official order of January 28 has now asked the National Security Guard (NSG) headquarters here to "locate land in other states".

The sources said that they were now scouting for sites in Jharkhand and Assam.

Four NSG hubs and two regional centres were created at-- Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata-- after the Mumbai attacks.

Kolkata and Hyderabad were earmarked to have regional centres. The NSG has already acquired land in Rangareddy district in Andhra Pradesh last year in April and work is in full swing there.

"The West Bengal government has expressed its inability to provide a suitable land for the NSG regional centre at Kolkata. The earlier location at Rajarhat was suitable but the state government retracted its earlier nod. Other areas had the problem of water-logging," the sources said.

The sources said as the NSG regional centre would now not be in Kolkata, the commandos will not have a place to train and hence there was a possibility that the hub located at Badu in the state capital would also be shifted.

The governments of Assam and Jharkhand have expressed willingness to station the troops and provide almost 300 acres of land for the regional centre with the capacity of almost 5000 commandos and having extensive training infrastructure, they said.

Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai had also written a letter to the Chief Secretary of West Bengal on January 27 to make available the land soon, but the Home Ministry was informed that the land could not be provided.

"It was decided that the hubs at Hyderabad and Kolkata will merge with the bigger regional centres but due to glitches in identifying land and transfer of ownership, the commandos at the Kolkata hub are rendering their duties from a location next to the international airport in the city," the sources said.

The delay in the process has led to problems for commandos in Kolkata who either have to use the state government's training facilities or go to the NSG's original garrison at Manesar in Haryana.

While the new hubs already have a specialised strength of 241 commandos for anti-terror duties, the regional centres will have 5,150 personnel, when fully operational.

"Keeping in view the growing incidence of terrorism in the country, the regional centres and hubs have been created to ensure speedy deployment of the force, in optimum strength, at the sites on need basis," the government told Rajya Sabha last year.

The existing hubs have been established at Marol (23 acres) in Mumbai, Nedunkundram (85 acres) in Chennai, Trimulghery (22 acres) in Hyderabad and Badu (20 acres) in Kolkata.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, February 06, 2011, 15:42


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