The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cover of silence wraps Parliament power fence

New Delhi, July 13: Shhh… the power people are getting a power fence.

Work has started to instal a security system around Parliament House to protect representatives of the people against attacks such as the one that took place on December 13 two years ago.

But no one is ready to talk about it.

“Sorry, we cannot share any information on security,” said Ajay Chadha, the joint secretary, Parliament security, home ministry. Simply put, Chadha is in charge of protecting the House.

Since the 2001 militant attack, India has been looking for a security system and the search ended at the Gallagher Group, a New Zealand-based company that, just to give an instance, has as customer the London Underground.

Gallagher, with distributors in over 100 countries, is offering the security power fence technology it has developed itself through a Bangalore company, Ibex.

Rick Spencer, the company’s business development manager for Asia, was quoted as saying in a company statement: “Gallagher provided extensive product information and training on the latest power fence technology to Ibex.”

The public sector Electronic Corporation of India is installing all the electronic surveillance equipment in Parliament using that technology. The system is expected to be in place by August.

“After the attack on December 13, we overhauled the entire system here and keep trying to update and improve it all the time,” Chadha said.

He would not disclose how the power fence technology works.

Information provided on the company’s website says the fence is extremely efficient in securing the perimeter of military bases. It deters attacks, eliminates false alarms, is easy to maintain and can be integrated with other technologies.

The company statement provided by the office of Peter Hobbs, New Zealand’s trade commissioner in Delhi, says the fencing around Parliament will be monitored round the clock on a central computer.

“The system sends active pulses around the fence every 12 seconds and is divided into 30 zones, each of which is individually monitored. Would-be intruders who come in contact with the electrified security fence receive a short, painful but safe shock. If the system is attacked or tampered with, an alarm is activated and the affected site is pictured on a central control computer.”

Gallagher security systems are in use in military bases in Europe, prisons in Australia and the US, a diamond mine in Africa and global power and telecommunication centres.

A parliamentary committee on security visited several countries to assess various systems before choosing Gallagher. Ibex made demonstrations and held discussions with the committee’s members, who include former army chief Shankar Roy Chowdhury, now a Rajya Sabha MP.

The joint secretary in charge of Parliament in the home ministry, H.R. Singh, said: “We are putting it all into place at different stages so that there cannot be any more serious attempts at security breach.”

The home ministry’s job is to provide the security personnel required to man the Parliament complex and assess the threat perception.

So how much is this power fence going to cost' No one is telling, though why this is also a secret is a good question.

Quick-CPS Delivery, a distribution trucking company that serves such retail giants as Warner Brothers Studios Stores and K-Mart Clothing Company, uses the power fence at its eight-acre site in Columbus, Ohio.

“This is an investment that my company simply cannot afford to do without,” its owner Ron Kauffman is quoted as saying.

The government will certainly echo that. But is it foolproof' Planes, possibly, can still be rammed into the building. As for the rest, ask James Bond.

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