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Mumbai cops still await upgrades for terror combat

May 24, 2009 16:07 IST

Despite losing 14 personnel and having chinks in their armour exposed in the November 26 terror strikes, Mumbai police are still to acquire most of the weaponry and equipment they had sought to tackle similar attacks in the future.

Modern weaponry, including assault rifles, armoured bullet proof vehicles, an amphibious vehicle, bullet proof jackets, night vision goggles are among the items on the city police wish-list, which runs up an estimated bill of over Rs 100 crore.

The police had also sought advanced equipment for the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad including advanced devices to find explosive substances and to defuse them.

A mobile bomb defusal unit in which bombs can be safely detonated is expected to be delivered soon while a bomb detection vehicle which scans for explosives using X-ray is already undergoing trials with the city police.
 
"So far the weaponry we have ordered have not been delivered since we have to order them from western countries," a senior city police official said.

"They have a long procedure to ensure the guns are delivered to law enforcement agencies which has caused the delay but we should be getting them soon," the official said.

Armoured vehicles have significance for the city police which lost its Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare and two other senior officials since the vehicle they were travelling in was not bulletproof.

The city police are reported to be acquiring at least 15 armoured vehicles, usually used by the military in insurgency prone areas, for any potential threats in the future.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration) Bhagwant More refused to comment on the acquisition of armoured vehicles and weaponry.

The presence of coastal police stations in the city and patrolling by police boats were of little deterrence to terrorists who landed on the city's coast in a rubber craft on November 26. However, police officials now say there is regular patrolling of the city's coast.

"We have acquired the requisite boats and are patrolling the city's coast regularly," More told PTI.

Bunkers manned by armed police personnel had also been set up in parts of the city following the November 26 strikes to reassure people and ensure security.

But with the monsoon round the corner the police will be re-evaluating whether the bunkers, most of which are in open at prominent locations in south Mumbai, will continue to stand.

"We will soon review the pickets that have been set up and decide what is to be done about them," More said.

Patrolling and checking of vehicles on the city's streets was also increased following the terror strikes and continues to be high.

The Railway Police Force has also increased its security capabilities after the attack at the heritage Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus which claimed 52 lives.

Authorities said the number of closed circuit cameras had been increased in addition to enhancing weaponry of personnel at important stations.

An X-ray baggage scanning machine has also been installed at CST where random passengers' bags are checked for suspicious objects.

However, a Rs 226 crore security plan of railway police has now to be re-evaluated after firms that bid for it sought alternate means to recover their costs instead of the offered advertising rights.

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