New Delhi, June 25: Come December, Parliament will be a fortress. In case there is a repeat of the December 13, 2001, attack, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other leaders need not worry.
Two underground shelters to protect them from nuclear, chemical or biological attacks will be constructed in the Parliament complex and state-of-the-art security gadgets installed to prevent unauthorised entry.
These decisions were taken today by a joint parliamentary committee set up to study Parliament security in the wake of the December attack. The committee, which has had a series of meetings in the last two years over the threat posed to Parliament, today reviewed the situation and decided on shelters and other safety devices.
CPM Lok Sabha MP Basudeb Acharya, a committee member, would not comment on today’s decisions. He merely said: “We met and discussed the security issue.”
Sources say the panel will meet again shortly to review the progress in implementing the measures.
Once the new security system in put in place, nobody will be able to enter the Parliament complex without an electronic identity card.
“Man-traps” are to be installed at entry-points. If a person attempts to enter without a valid pass, a trap door will open beneath him, making him fall into an underground enclosure where he will be picked up for questioning.
The Central Hall will be sealed to protect it from radioactive emissions from “dirty” bombs.
When security personnel battled out in the open with terrorists in December, more than 200 MPs along with ministers, officials and some journalists were provided shelter in the Central Hall till normalcy was restored.
If the Prime Minister and other VVIPs are present in Parliament during such an attack in future, they will be immediately escorted to the underground shelters, sources said.
The parliamentary committee met today under the chairmanship of Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker P.M. Sayeed and discussed the threat posed by nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
The meeting was attended by Acharya and nominated Rajya Sabha MPs, former army chief Gen. Roy Choudhury and former chief justice Ranganath Mishra.
Others attending included senior officials of the special protection group, the Delhi police commissioner, the Delhi municipal commission chairman, the Delhi Development Authority vice-chairman and officials from the home and urban development ministries.
The committee also decided to close Imtiaz Khan road from the Parliament annexe to Akashvani Bhavan to traffic by December 31 this year.