CHILD’S PLAY: The Rajarhat plot where the elite commando force will set up its second hub in eastern India is now a playground for kids. Picture by Amit Datta
The National Security Guard (NSG) has finally been offered a plot after a year’s wait to build its second hub in eastern India but there is no word yet from the state government on when the remote site will be linked with a paved road for the force to start construction.
The 35-acre plot in Rajarhat’s Kathalberia, for which the elite commando force had paid the state Rs 35 crore six months ago, is around 3km from the nearest motorable road.
The only way to reach the Action Area III site is a dirt track winding through a village and paddy fields. It’s wide enough for a four-wheeler, but not for trucks, pay-loaders or other heavy vehicles that will travel the stretch during the construction of the campus.
“We have written to Hidco (custodian of the plot), explaining why we need a proper road link between the plot and the main road. There is no point getting a plot in the middle of nowhere and then wait indefinitely for a road link to start construction,” said a senior officer of the force.
Hidco officials said they were aware of “all the issues” related to the Kathalberia plot and efforts were on to resolve them.
“We are in constant touch with the force and are aware of all the issues. They will soon start building the boundary wall,” Debashis Sen, the chairman-cum-managing director of Hidco, told Metro.
Hidco insiders ruled out the possibility of laying the road anytime soon because of the monsoon. “It will take a few months to start work on laying a 2.7km link between the NSG plot and the nearest motorable road,” said a Hidco official.
The force had spent a year scouting for a suitable plot to set up a second hub in the east after Baduria, off Jessore Road, in North 24-Parganas. It had inspected as many as nine sites and might have abandoned the plan for a second hub had not chief minister Mamata Banerjee intervened and ensured that the Rajarhat plot was offered to the force on an “uninterrupted” lease.
“The biggest problem with the Baduria plot is mobility as Jessore Road often gets choked with traffic. If the response time is slow, the whole purpose of branching out across the country gets defeated. The Rajarhat plot that way is ideally located, especially because it is close to the airport. What we need immediately is a road link,” the NSG officer added.
According to the basic blueprint, the Rajarhat facility will have a training centre where commandos will carry out their daily drill and hone their multifaceted skills.
Those meant for special operations will undergo practice firing on an Electronic Combat Shooting Range, where a commando will have to cover 400 metres in six-and-a-half minutes and fire at 29 targets along the way. There will be various types of targets — some vertically rising, a few popping up or rotating — and each will be exposed for two-three seconds before it has to be shot.
“We will also have provisions for housing commandos and senior officers. That’s a must to ensure that they move as a unit during an emergency,” another officer said. “Once ready, the Rajarhat hub will have 300 commandos.”