Special commando unit for Parliament yet to see light of day

Almost a year after clearance was given to set up a specialised commando unit for guarding Parliament, the squad is still to see light of day.

Updated: Feb 10, 2013, 15:54 PM IST

New Delhi: Almost a year after clearance was given to set up a specialised commando unit for guarding Parliament, the squad is still to see light of day following financial and logistical issues.

The elite team, drawn from the best trained men and women of the CRPF, will be called the Parliament Duty Group (PDG).

The creation of the PDG was mooted in the aftermath of the 2001 Parliament terror attack. The Union Home Ministry had approved the creation of the special unit in April last year to guard the complex which comprises the main Parliament House, reception office building, Sansadiya Gyanpeeth (Parliament library building) and Parliament House Annexe.

Top security sources involved in the raising and deployment of this group said that a host of clearances on the financial and manpower front are yet to be obtained from the both the Finance and Home Ministries.

The Parliament House is at present guarded by CRPF and Delhi Police. The 1,540 personnel-strong PDG will comprise those who have undertaken not only commando and tactics training, but also in dealing with nuclear and bio-chemical emergencies.

The unit will function under the operational command of the Additional Secretary (Security) of Parliament House with the overall in-charge being the Director General of CRPF. "This command system was charted out by the Union Home Ministry so that the new unit acts as a cohesive unit for any exigency at the Parliament House complex. It will have sophisticated arms like Glock pistols and sniper rifles and vehicles to move in the complex," a senior official involved in Parliament security said.

While the CRPF has already trained two batches of this squad for the task, clearances for bullet-proof vehicles and supply of some Israel made guns and other small arms is still in process, defeating the purpose with which this plan was taken up and approved, the official said.

The PDG will also coordinate with personnel of the Parliamentary security unit, Delhi Police and regular Central Reserve Police Force, guarding the periphery and approach routes to Parliament House.

The Home Ministry, in its instructions in April, 2012, had asked the CRPF to keep the age profile of the PDG young. The troopers in the squad will have a fixed tenure of four years.

The CRPF headquarters had suggested creation of an exclusive security group for Parliament House soon after the terror attack in 2001 and it had moved the first proposal in this regard a few years after the incident.

At present, a mix of CRPF personnel drawn from various Delhi-based battalions of the force guard Parliament House. The PDG will comprise separate units of security personnel, communications experts, quick reaction teams (QRTs) and medical staff.

The administrative control of PDG will remain with an Inspector General of CRPF (North) stationed in the national capital.